The coming of spring brings the optimism of rebirth: sun, flowers, and color. With those comes the beloved custom of the bracelet of “Martis”, which means March in Greek. According to tradition, the Martis bracelet is woven with red and white string and is worn on the first day of March. The purpose of this bracelet is to protect whoever wears it from the first sunshine of spring as well as from the Evil Eye, another important Greek custom. Usually, the bracelet is taken off on the last day of March or is left on until it rips and falls apart on its own. Some people leave the bracelet on roses so that the first swallow of the spring will use it to build its nest.
It is a very old tradition that dates back to Ancient Greece and more specifically to the Eleusinian Mysteries where mystic priests tied a string called Kroki on their right hand and on their left leg. Apart from Greece, this custom can also be found in many other Balkan countries such as Bulgaria (Martenitsa), Romania (Mărțișor), North Macedonia (Martinka), Albania (Verore), Moldova (Mărțișor), and Cyprus (Martoui or Martis).
So, with this red and white streak, let’s welcome the most colorful and hopeful season of the year!