With the month of March comes the start of Spring. Moldovans and Romanians celebrate a widely observed tradition called Martisor (pronounced Martishor – little March). The tales about Martisor are gathered and surely twisted when passed from one person to another, and generation to the next. My Mom told me this version of the fairy tale when I was around seven.

The symbol of Martisor is a ribbon which has the same name as the event. People make them from red and white threads and wear them on their lapel starting March 1st. At that time, you had to make your own, and my Mom showed me how to make it. You make little brushes by twisting red and white threads and tie them together on the top and put lots of love into what you are creating. Finally, under my Mom’s supervision I managed to bring life to my first Martisor.

I went to school with white and red little brushes on the lapel of my school uniform and felt it was giving love to everyone around. My Mom also said that at the end of March I would need to to put it on a branch of one of the cherry trees in our garden. This act was supposed to assure a good crop of cherries.

I couldn’t wait for the end of the month to hang the ribbon on the tree. Then, I couldn’t wait to see how the trees were generously covered with cherries — and I knew why!

Today, my cousin in Romania sent me a picture of a Martisor, and I recalled everything: the fairy tale, my mom’s story, the Martishor on my school uniform and our cherry garden full of cherries because of the Martisor that I hung on a branch of a tree nce each year at the end of March!