European Year for Innovation and Creativity

Legends of Martisor



Martisorul is a specifically Romanian holiday, which celebrate coming of spring. In this day people offer each other martisoare, like a little present. There is a supposition that martisoarele bring happiness and lucky. They are made traditionally with white and red thread, the red color means winter and white - spring, to which is added symbols of good fortune: clover with four leaves, horseshoe, cosar and heart. This symbol is worn one or two weeks.

How appeared this custom?

Archaeological discoveries show that the first day of spring is celebrated since 8000 years ago. In period when it was Dacians this symbols were made during the winter spring and where worn only after 1 March. The martisoarele where in that period white and red stones that were strung on a thread. Another sources indicate that martisoarele were consisted in coins that were hanging by thin wool yarn, black and white. Type of coins: gold, silver or bronze indicated social status. They were worn for luck and to have a good time.

Dacians believed that these amulets brought fertility, beauty and prevent burns because the sun. They were held until the trees began to bloom and then hanging on their branches.

There are two legends about appearance of Martisor Day:

First legend

Legend of Dochia old woman

Many years ago, a old woman named Dochia has a step daughter that she hates. One day of a terrible winter Dochia gave to hear a very dirty clothes asking here to wash in a river to become white as snow.

Young girl washing her long, but as she washed it harder this clothes became blacker! Then appear a man named Martisor and asked her why she is crying? She told him what was happening. Then Martisor told her that he has a magical power, he offered her a flower with red and white color and told her wash again the clothes and after to return at home.

When the girl arrived at home the clothes was white like snow. The old woman Dochia does not want to believe. She thought that step daughter will not be able to fulfill the task. Suddenly she saw the flower in girl’s hair. Where did you get this flower? Asked women, “it is still winter”

The old woman thought that spring came and went with flock of sheep on the mountain. On the way the weather was beautiful, so she gave up on she’s sheepskin coats.

At the end she was caught by drizzle. When she reached the top Martisor appeared: “Do you see how bad is to sit in cold and wet?”, “you that obliged the daughter to wash the clothes at the river in winter”. Then he disappeared. The old women left alone in the mountains, came the frost and the sheep were turned into stone.

Since then, red and white symbolize the fight between good and evil, between winter and spring.

The second Legend

Once the sun has descended on earth, and took the image of a young man to attend a national dance hora in one village. Evil dragon, seeing that he got a young face, kidnapped and imprisoned him in a prison, causing suffering to whole nature. It is said that the rivers have stopped flowing; the birds no longer sing . . . the children stop to laughing. No one knew what to do until a brave young man decided to face the dragon and releasing the sun. It started his trip, with an imaginable power that no one has.

Trip of young men lasted 3 seasons: summer, autumn and winter. At the end of winter, he found castle of dragon and fought for days until the dragon was shot down. Weak and badly injured, the young man managed to reach to prison where the sun was, issued him and after he died, his blood flowing on snow white. The sun climbed the sky and proclaimed the coming of spring, filling the hearts of people with happiness. Since then, young pupils make two pieces, one white and one red, giving the girls that they love or those close. Red signifies love for all that is beautiful, reminiscent the color of blood of brave young men. White symbolizes purity, health and snowdrop, the first flower of spring.