Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 1st….Mărțișor, Harbinger of Romanian Spring


As Romanians prepare for spring celebrations on March 1st, the legends of Mărțișor and Baba Dochia come to mind, memories of childhood, red and white twisted silk bows with lovely miniature works of art, some handmade others depicting various symbols of love, friendship and renewal.


Ancient folk traditions were passed on from one generation to the next from Roman times when gold or silver coins were tied to the blossoming fruit trees or some shrubs such as sweet briar, the tradition called for sharing of red wine, freshly baked bread and fresh cheese with the friends and family.
Spring Tradition

Burduf Cheese in Pine Bark

In other places, Mărțișor was worn until the arrival of migratory birds when it was thrown in the direction from which they came for future good fortune.
Bread Makers

Baba Dochia in Bucovina is the fairytale about a young princes that runs to the hills disguised as a shepherdess in order to avoid being given in marriage to a tyrant ruler.

She dressed warmly with nine sheepskin traditional embroidered coats to stay warm near her sheep. 
Cojoc Hand Embroidered

As she climbed the hills on March 1st, she took off one coat at the time for nine days, only to get to the top of the mountain where it was so cold and the ruler’s men were catching up to her. 
Banat Cojoc Vest

In her desperation she fell to her knees and asked God to save her…the wish was granted…she was turned into a beautiful rock formation for eternity.
                                                                Voyages of Discovery
White Guba Coats

Moldova Vests and Jacket
Master Cojoc Maker

The craft of cojoc making is still transcending from centuries of traditions and regional artistry.