On Sunday, March 1, residents at Le Renaissance Manoir St-Francis celebrated the coming of spring with a tradition known as Martisor. Of Romanian and Eastern European origin, Martisor is a tradition that involves distributing a present in the form of a ribbon made from red and white string, usually with objects attached, to all women on the first day of March as a show of respect and admiration. The Martisor tradition, which translates to ‘the little March,’ was brought to the manor three years ago with the arrival of current Director Gabriela Rotariu. She brought the tradition from her native Romania and wanted to share it with the residents. “Apparently this tradition is in all of Eastern Europe but it’s very Romanian,” explained Rotariu. “It’s not a Christian tradition.” She went on to discuss the history of the tradition in Romania, beginning with the martisor as a symbol of the purity of marriage and how it evolved over time. “In the beginning, it was just the ribbon and putting it around the woman’s wrist. This protected the delicate skin of women during the violent spring winds and before that, it was a symbol of purity of marriage. Then later on, we started to attach little objects to the ribbon. It was initially a bracelet but now it’s almost like a broach.” See full story in the Tuesday, March 3 edition of The Record.
By Taylor McClure, Special to The Record