You can tell that Romanians across the ages have gotten tired of winter by the end of February because when the first of March hits, they celebrate by pretending  it’s spring.  Martisor is a holiday that welcomes spring even though it could be snowing.  It’s celebrated  with children giving men presents (booze and hygiene products are what David got) and women trinkets with red and white ribbons.  Traditionally, the ghiocel (or snowdrop), the first flower of spring, is paired with the red and white ribbons and given as gifts.  These trinkets, flowers, and ribbon are worn for the first 12 or so days of March or until the fruit trees bloom (but with the snow coming down, methinks the trees will take a bit longer).  Then I’ve heard that after the 12 days, women will hang their ribbons on trees for a good spring harvest of fruit.  It’s a nice mix of fertility celebration and spring fever rolled up together to give us an excuse to enjoy sunshine and some champagne (we have FOUR bottles in the fridge right now).  Our pal, Gretel has a nice post about it over at her blog where a Romanian describes the meaning of Martisor.

8 March is International Women’s Day and that translates into a European Mother’s Day of sorts with a Martisor theme.  As I try to keep my expressive therapies group with beneficiaries seasonal, our art therapy group last week was making martisoare for their mothers and the women who work at the center.  Inspired by a post over at Salty Pineapple, we used a simple template from mmmcrafts to cut out flower petals from various fabrics.  And then with the magic of American hot glue, we made them into brooches, adding a Romanian martisor trinket and ribbon.

I love that each martisor brooch is unique.  I love that each beneficiary had choices to make regarding colors, fabric, trinkets.  These folks get so few opportunities to make choices, that it was great watch them choose so deliberately.  And they had choices because there are some wonderful folks at home who sent them fabric and felt and flowery gems to adorn these martisoare.  So a BIG thanks to Erica and Marcia and Lynn whose care packages definitely added pizazz to our project.   And a big thanks to my mom for shipping over a hot glue gun.  Really, it’s a hit in Romania.

La Multi Ani de Martisor!