Sunday, February 28, 2016

Martisor: A Romanian Spring Celebration

photo: Snowdrop Martisor, from Wikipedia

She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead.

A. A. Milne

Spring will be here soon! Today's post features songs and dances about Martisor, celebrated on March 1 in Romania.

Martisor is also a red and white decoration such as a bracelet or brooch worn during the month of March, to celebrate the arrival of spring. There is a similar holiday in Bulgaria on March 1, Baba Marta Day. The main difference is that the Romanian holiday was originally a New Year celebration (the ancient Romans celebrated the New Year on March 1).  The Bulgarian celebration honors a mythical figure, Baba Marta, and people wear adornments called Martenitsa in order to please Baba Marta so that spring will come early. These are given to friends and relatives for good luck and health.

The first video is of a children's group, who perform two songs and a dance in honor of Martisor. The dance is called Hora Martisorului. Notice the stigaturi (shouts), these are typical of Romanian folk dances.

Video #2 is a pop-folk song with all the ladies dressed in red and white, titled Martisor, which is another one of those earworms that will take up residence in your head for hours. If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you have listened to lots of them.  The song is lively and cheerful, and although I couldn't find the lyrics or a translation it's well worth a listen. From what I can gather it's about the arrival of spring (primavara in Romanian).

Not only are they dressed for the holiday, they're carrying bunches of flowers as well.  The costumes are a bit on the sexy side...eye candy for the guys?

Video is a group of  young dancers from Calarasi, in southern Romania, dancing a sirba in honor of spring, followed by a medley of other traditional dances. The "embroidery" on the screen behind the dancers will get your attention.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Crossing the River Part Three: The Bulgarian Martenitsa and the Romanian Martisor

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Martenitsa (but were afraid to ask)

The "Flavors" of Romanian Sirba

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