Our Romanian friends, the Ciorteas, who just came to visit this week brought Annelise & me the most thoughtful little gifts: mărțișoare. I have such an affinity for learning about cultural celebrations, so these were beyond perfect, b/c they represent our friends, and they taught us something!

Mărțișor is an old Romanian celebration at the beginning of spring, on March 1st. The name Mărțișor is the diminutive of marț, the old folk name for March (Martie, in modern Romanian), so it literally means "little March". Mărțișor is also the name for the red and white string from which a small decoration is tied, and which is given by boys (Eli & Alec :-)) to girls (Annelise & me :-)) on the 1st day of March. [Look on my shirt & in Annelise's fingers!] Giving this talisman to people is an old custom, and it is believed that the one who wears the red and white string will be strong and healthy for the year to come. It is also a symbol of the coming spring. Usually, women wear it pinned to their clothes for the first 12 days of the month, until other spring celebrations, or until the bloom of certain fruit-trees. In modern times, and especially in urban areas, the Mărțișor lost most of its talisman properties and became more of a symbol of friendship or love, appreciation and respect. :-)

[They also brought us Nestlé Joe XXL Ciocolata cu Lapte:
Mmmm...chocolate & wafers - a bit like giant Kit Kats!]