Romanian spring in Spain
The spring is seen by ancient and present Romanians as a rebirth as the Earth starts to wake up after cold winter. The first spring signs are the snowdrops that appear timidly from melting spots of snow giving signs of winter being defeated.
Mart, the traditional name of March it is said to be very moody. The legends mention is as Mart having taken a day from each month to be better than its brothers therefore the days are changing always with no concrete weather throughout the month.
Beginning of March is the beginning of spring and for Romanians that means the celebration of mărțișor, regardless where you are. Mărțșor is in fact the gift given on this day, most common to women, but not only, as a symbol of spring.
The seasons in the Romanian tradition have been given the colours of red for spring, green for summer, black for autumn and white for the winter. Nonetheless the string symbolizes as well the succession of spring after winter, thus the colours. The variations of the meanings of the twines are different as it is the fight of the day over the night, the good over the evil, the light over darkness and the entire antithesis you could think of.
Mărțșor, the gift, has as well a meaning. The rope formed of 2 strings, one white and one red, are twined together. Legends mention as well black and white (fertility and purity) or gold and silver (lights of the sun) strings, while the nowadays colours. Attached can have a small gift in different shapes, the most common ones being a chimney sweeper, ladybug, clover, snowdrop or a horseshoe, all meant to bring good luck.
We couldn’t let our tradition not to be spread in Spain so we combined our tradition with the project’s topic: volleyball shaped martisoare. I want to share this with you as the method can be used as an activity for children, regardless the shapes you do.
Deciding to do them as medallions, we mixed water (1 cup), salt (1 cup) and flour (2 cups) to form a paste. Once the paste well knitted, the form was cut with the help of a small cup, placed on an oven tray. If you plan your shapes as medallions, make the hole before putting them in the oven. “Cook” them for 2-3 minutes. You can as well leave the figurines overnight to dry as baking can be tricky if you let them too much (they can also swallow).
If freshly taken out of the oven, let them chill a bit so you don’t get burned. Leaving aside those burned I polished their edges (resulted from the cup I used) and the main surface to have a smooth and shiny aspect (the salt particles shine).
I made a volleyball shape out of a plastic lid so I can draw the lines of the volleyball with help (I tried directly yet the result was not that good). To the drawn versions the string and a safety pin were attached. Left overnight to dry better and our mărțișor was done.
Vio prepared a text and a small flyer explaining in Spanish what mărțișor is and on 1st of March the 170 spring gifts were offered on the streets to people passing by.