martinki 2Each year on 1st of March there is a tradition to celebrate the beginning of spring. This habit has its roots in ancient times and can be found in Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Moldova, and Romania and can even be found in some parts of Albania, Greece and Serbia. The tradition is to make a white and red thread made of yarn. White yarn – Phizo, represents male and red – Penda, female side. After the thread is made, it is usually given to close loved ones and is typically worn as a bracelet around a wrist. The tradition says that it should not be bought for oneself, but only given as a gift. After the first stork or swallow is seen, or even a blossoming fruit, a thread is to be hung on a growing plant or a tree.

martinkiThe Grandma March Day with its two-coloured strings that are called Martinki or Martenitsa or Mărțișor, depending on a language, is a very nice custom that is still in practice. Red and white colours have certain symbolism. Red represents health, new life, rising sun and passion, while white symbolizes purity of the melting snow. Together, two parts of a bracelet are pointing out to the never ending circle of life and Mother Earth.

The HAEMUS Center for Scientific Research and Promotion of Culture from Skopje is the bearer of the "Martinki" custom as an intangible cultural heritage, inscribed on the UNESCO list in 2017. The HEAMUS are also organizing a festival for promotion of this custom that had a decrease in popularity in the last decades. Fortunately, thanks to HAEMUS, it has been brought back as a very well-liked habit, especially among young generations. 

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The South East European (SEE) Heritage network Secretariat
P.O. Box 85
85330 Kotor - Montenegro
phone: + 382 (0)32 302520
mobile:+ 381 (0)64 1989577
fax:     + 382 (0)32 302521

The material displayed on the separate country pages has been prepared by:
Albanian Heritage Foundation
Bosnia and Herzegovina: CHwB Regional Office in Sarajevo
Kosovo: EC MA Ndryshe
Montenegro: EXPEDITIO and Notar
Serbia: Civic Association SUBURBIUM

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South East Europe (SEE) – a region where people cooperate, understand and respect each other on the basis of their cultural differences, believing that cultural, ethnic and religious diversity is a valuable resource.


South East European Heritage is a network of non-governmental organizations established in 2006. The mission of the SEE Heritage network is to work toward protecting and promoting our common cultural heritage with the aim of encouraging the sustainable development of the region.

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