Martinki event in 2013

Martinki from the Republic of Macedonia

Happy First of March! (mk. Среќна Баба Марта) is an annual event held by HAEMUS on 01.03. celebrating both, the beginning of the spring and ancient tradition connected with wearing of martinki (mk. мартинки).


Martinki from the personal collection of Vasilka Dimitrovska, director of HAEMUS


In certain parts of the Republic of Macedonia there is a custom associated with the first day of March. It is called “Grandma March” Day. On this day typical red and white tassels, pom-poms or knit (braided) bracelets all known as martinki are exchanged, given to loved ones and they are worn pinned on clothing or tied on the wrist. The red and white woven threads symbolize the wish for good health and prosperity. They are heralds of the coming spring. People wear them until the nature starts to bloom and then hang them on trees.

The symbolism is quite obvious: the white represents the purity of the melting snow while the red is a symbol of life and passion, or in other words they are both great symbols of the constant cycle of life and death, the balance of good and evil, and of the sorrow and happiness in human life.

Martinki - Republic of Macedonia

Original hand-made and photo by Maya Kuzmanoska.
Released under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

This is the month of March. Grandma March is the only woman among her 11 brothers (the months of the year). She is seen as an old, ill-humored and snappy woman with highly contrasting moods. The story goes like this:

A shepherdess was tired of the long, boring winter. One day seeing the skies brighten and the sun caressing the meadows, she decided to take her flock up the mountain in search of fresh grass. On her way she mocked with March, cursing her, calling her names and inviting springtime to hasten and replace the dreary month. March heard the words of the foolish woman and almost being the end of the month she pleaded February to borrow her two or three of his days to punish the foolish shepherdess. February being the youngest, fulfilled her plea. March used the days to force the most fierce snows and storms upon the ungrateful and daft shepherdess and freeze her and her flock.

Written by Maya Kuzmanoska
co-founder of HAEMUS 

Read here the official document submitted to UNESCO about the martinki

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