The Romanian Peasant Museum of Bucharest is hosting, February 25 – March 1, its traditional Martisor Fair, where people are invited to learn about techniques and styles of martisor making.
“White and red string of silk, wool, cotton, paper, seeds, felt, modelling clay, ornaments, put, clock wheels, metal, computer keys, synthetic resin, ceramics, glass, enamel, silver, wood, stone and flowers, etamine, bead and countess other techniques and styles turn the Martisor Fair, as always, into an unmissable story,” organisers say in a press statement.
Like every year, schools, foundations, associations and organisations conducting humanitarian actions for children and disadvantaged people will be joining the participants in the fair.
On Saturday, between 14:00hrs and 16:00hrs, the youngest visitors were invited to come with their parents to see how to twist the white and red threads of martisor, as part of a workshop held by Genoveva Sauciuc.
There are also gastronomic offerings for the visitors, who could taste and buy gingerbread, home cookies, sweet leavened bread and other pastry from Bucovina, Alexandria, Baia Mare and Buzau, as well as honey and comfiture from Ilfov and herbal teas and medicinal plants from Dambovita.
Martisor, Martisug or Mart, a March 1 celebration recorded by ethnologists in the early 20the century, had been observed by Romanians as well as Bulgarians and Albanians in the Balkans. It is a custom that the peasants would repeat each year at the beginning of spring to protect them against illness and bad luck. The children would have a silver coin tied to their hand by a twisted red and white string of wool or cotton to keep illnesses at bay; after 12 days, the martisor would be tied to a fruit tree to make the tree more plentiful, while a similar red and white string would be tied to cattle to keep them healthy and fertile. Assimilated by the urban culture and turned into a fashion, the cotton thread turned into silver or gold threads worn as an accessory, given as a souvenir or a present, in a fantastic story that has stood the test of time where the simple red and white twisted thread stepped into contemporaneity as a virtual object, according to organisers.