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Romania Welcomes Spring with Martisor Day. History and Traditions

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Martisor march 1

Attached to the Red-White string, there are
symbols considered to bring luck
Here – Horse shoe Martisor

As Spring begins, everything comes back to life. To mark the beginning of a new cycle of life, Romanians have a special tradition, called Martisor.

Origin of Martisor

The day of March 1, according to the old calendar, was considered the beginning of the New Year, the celebration of Spring’s arrival. Martisor is an over 8000 years old tradition, born in the lands where now Romania is. In the time of the Dacians (Romanian ancestors), spring symbols were made during winter and were worn starting with March 1st. Martisor were then white and red pebbles, strung on a string and worn around one’s neck. The red color, given by fire, blood and sun, was attributed to life, hence to women. White, on the other hand, conferred by the clarity of water, the white of the clouds, was specific to the wisdom of men. Besides, the cord of the Martisor expresses the inseparable interweaving of the two principle as a permanent movement of matter. It signifies the exchange of vital forces that give rise to life, the continuous cycle of nature.

Martisor march 1

Martisor across the borders –
made by Sanskar Shrivastava in India
for TWR Romania team

The significance of Martisor remained the same over time: it’s a symbol of spring, of the returning to life. It brings optimism and faith. Back then, Martisor was attached to a rose or a blossoming tree, to bring luck, or was thrown in the direction from which wandering birds came, saying “Ia-mi negretele si da-mi albetele” (Take me the black and bring me the white” – meaning take away the surrow and everything negative and exchange it to happiness and good things).

Martisor Story

The legend says that the Sun descended in a village, at the village dance, taking the shape of a lovely girl. A dragon watched her and abducted her from the crowd and trapped her in a dungeon. The world was so sad. Birds stopped singing, rivers stopped flowing and children stopped laughing. Nobody dared to confront the dragon. But one day, a brave young man decided to go save the Sun. Many people led him and gave them from their powers to help him overcome the dragon and release the sun.

ghiocei martisor march one

Snowdrops – Spring’s first flowers

The journey lasted three seasons: summer, autumn and winter. He found the dragon’s castle and they began fighting. They fought for days until the dragon was defeated. Feeble and wounded, the young man released the Sun. It rose in the sky, chearing up people. It revived nature, people have rejoiced, but the brave young man never got to see spring again. The hot blood from his wounds drained in the snow. While the snow was melting, white flowers were blooming, Snowdrops, the messengers of spring. Even the last drop of blood dripped in the pristine snow. He died. Since then, young people knit two tassels together: one white and one red. They offer them to the girls they love or to their loved ones. Red means love for all that is beautiful, reminiscent of the color of the brave man’s blood. White symbolizes the health and the purity of the snowdrop, the first flower of spring.

Martisor Traditions

Martisor is worn on “the days of Old Dochia” [Zilele Babelor] that are between 1 to 9 March. In present times, the custom is to pick a day from this period and it’s said that depending on how that day will be, that’s how all your year will be. A sunny day predicts a good year and a gloomy one a bad year.

In some regions, Martisor is worn during the whole month of March, then attached to the branches of a fruit tree. It is believed this will bring wealth into people’s homes. They say that if someone makes a wish and hang Martisor on the tree, it will come true soon. In early April, in a large part of Romania and Moldova’s villages, trees are decorated with Martisors. In Moldova, the musical festival “Martisor” takes place every year, starting on March 1 until March 10.

In some counties of Romania, Martisor is worn only in the first two weeks of March. In Transylvanian cities (center Romania), Martisors are hanged on doors, windows, horns of domestic animals, because it is considered that it can frighten evil spirits. In Bihor county it is believed that if people wash their face with rainwater fallen on March 1, they will become more beautiful and healthy. In Banat, girls wash with snow so they will be loved. In Dobrogea, Martisors are worn until the arrival of cranes, then thrown in the air so that their happiness will be great and have wings. In Moldova, on March 1 girls give Martisor to boys and they give them Martisors back on March 8 (this differs slightly from the rest of the country). The Festival of Martisor can be found in the Balkans at the Aromanians and Megleno-Romanians, as well at the Bulgarians who call it Marten/ Martenitsa (Мартеница) and also in Macedonia and Albania.

Different Martisors march 1

Wearing Martisor

Martisor can be basically any good-luck token that has attached the red-white martisor string. Most commonly used are the four-leaf-clover, the chimney sweeper, horse shoe and ladybug. Also, traditional models are ones made out of dry flowers casted in amber or small metal broches.

traditional martisors

In the last years though, the trend has changed a bit and there are many who prefer wearing the bracelet Martisor (it’s like a friendship bracelet)  – such as the ones below, as there are more and more people who like and do handmade designs.

bratari martisor

Martisor Bracelets

Apart from these rather traditional Martisor, you can gift/receive a martisor in so many other forms, from jewelry or scarfs to flowers that have attached one red-white string. One wears a Martisor either pinned on its tshirt/coat etc or tied around the wrist.

copac martisor

Martisor tied to a fruit tree

Either way you like to wear it and whatever model you prefer, we hope it would work it’s ‘magic’ and bring you a happy prosperous year

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Miniature painting: how to get started in this addictive hobby

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Painting a miniature may seem as easy as pie at first; however, any veteran will tell you that giving color to a miniature figure can be a tedious and painstaking job if you are not truly passionate about it. If you do not have the patience, it is advisable that you look for another hobby or hire a good miniature painting service. But for those who are still determined to enter the world of miniatures, here are some tips that can help you paint those little figures more easily.

Keep your workspace organized and clean

Any artist needs their own studio, so if you are going to embrace the art of miniature painting, you will need your own workspace. And, since we are dealing with small figures, having neat, clean one does not only positively affect your work flow, but the output as well. One of the benefits of having an organized workspace is that it saves a lot of time, because it will take you a lot less time to find a tool from a tidy table than from a messy pile of objects, right?

Watch your posture while you paint

Painting miniatures can be a long and tedious process, which means you will have to sit in your chair for hours. Having a correct posture while painting can avoid possible pains in the body that you may experience after working hours. Try not to stoop much when approaching to look at the miniature. You can solve this problem by using a shorter chair, or bringing the miniature closer to your face when you paint it, but your hands might shake a bit – so be careful there to not ruin the work.

Do previous material research

A great deal of people have lost money by not buying the right materials for their figures. So, before going to the mall to get you all set, make sure to research about the right tools, paints and brushes that you will need. Luckily for our generation, Internet i sour best friend, so all you have to do is to type into your Google search the type of figure you are going to Paint, and you will surely find a forum or web where you can answer all your questions. Just be careful to not let your attention deviate from what you were looking for.

Take care of the lightning

When we paint a miniature, we must artificially simulate the lights / shadows that the light would produce if this miniature were to real scale. And that we can do by color variations, Lights and shadows can produce visual changes in volumes and proportions. For example, if we have a face with wrinkles, we can highlight them more or less by playing with the volumes and thus going from creating a face with small facial marks, to creating a very old, creepy one.

Plus, a correct location and shape of lights and shadows can also give a surface the appearance of being composed of one or another material, since light does not reflect in the same way in a plastic as in a metal. In the case of the Warhammer, for example, the same lighting techniques will not work to paint the classics figures and the 40k ones because, as they are set in different time, the costumes are not supposed to be the same material. If you are not sure about how to manage this yourself, there are also warhammer 40k painting service that you can use.

Get started

  • Choose a combination of two or three light colors and a dark one as a balance.
  • Use water to dilute them to make their application easier.
  • Apply a first black or white layer depending on whether you’ll apply metallic or non-metallic colors later, respectively. To apply this first layer you can use spray paint, airbrushing or a hand brush.
  • Apply the following layer with the technique of your choice: dipping, gradients, dry brush, dotted, vitrified, petrified …
  • Small parts such as shields and weapons are best left to the end.

Be patient… And practical

Miniature painting is something that requires patience -a lot of patience, indeed, and it is not enough that you like the theme. For example, in the case of the Warhammer, if you are more interested in playing than in painting itself, it is better not to waste your time and use a warhammer painting service to not get frustrated and be able to focus just on what you really like. But if you are truly interested in doing the painting yourself, don’t despair. It’s not easy at first, but you’ll get better results with time. Even the greatest miniature painters took years to make the works that they exhibit now. You could be the next one.

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5 Simple Additions That Will Give Your Kitchen a Makeover

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When you think of a kitchen renovation, you probably get intimidated by the very thought of having to overhaul everything, replace components, and commit to expensive upgrades. However, you don’t necessarily need such fancy and costly improvements to bring your kitchen to life. In fact, many times it’s a collection of little things that add up to create a desirable and diverse kitchen space. With that said, here are 5 things you can add to your kitchen in one day to make it look like a different place.

1. Sink or Faucet Upgrade

A tarnished faucet neck that has lost its shine can really make the whole sink area look dull and outdated. Other than cooking, the primary kitchen activity is washing dishes, so you’re going to be staring at that faucet neck for quite a while, which is why it has such a strong visual impact on the room – it’s a clear focal point. Thus, you’ll want to take your time comparing models on platforms like Best Kitchen Faucets Hub to ensure you’re choosing one you won’t mind looking at every day during dish duty.

2. Countertop Garbage Disposal Button Upgrade

Even if you already have a conventional garbage disposal system, replacing the standard wall switch setup with a countertop push button system can add a subtle yet convenient feature to your sink area. Instead of having to walk over to the wall switch, you’ll have a convenient “air switch” button right next to your sink, and they come in all sorts of colors to match your décor.

3. Island Bar

If your kitchen is spacious enough, you can install a new island bar in a single afternoon and have additional counterspace as well as another surface for organized cooking accessories and decorative items. Many prefab islands are easy to assemble and come with instructions as well as drawers for utensil storage space.

4. Painted or Wallpapered Cabinets and New Handles

Replacing your cabinets altogether can be costly and time consuming but going over them with a couple layers of paint and gloss is much easier. You can also use cabinet wallpaper to add some nice designs for a more noticeable and unique change. Likewise, handles are cheap and can really make your cabinets look brand new. All of this can usually be done for $50-$200 depending on the size of your cabinet setup and the materials you select.

5. Laminate Countertop Sheets

Finally, you’re probably going to want your countertops to match the niceness of everything else you’ve added thus far. The easiest way to do that without investing a lot of money or effort is to simply install some countertop laminate sheets.

Throw in a Welcome Mat and Consider a Flooring Upgrade

To finish it off you might as well slap down a nice decorative welcome mat at the kitchen’s entrance just for an extra touch of homeliness. While you’re looking at the mat, you might notice that your flooring isn’t up to par with the rest your newly improved kitchen. Before you start fretting about the cost of changing the flooring, consider taking a DIY laminate approach to save money.

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Why You Should Consider Volunteering

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If you are looking to gain a whole range of life skills, and give something back to your local community, then why not consider signing up to volunteer? Volunteering enables you to meet new people, not to mention you will be reaching out and touching another individual’s life for the better. When you decide to volunteer it is up to you to decide how much time you want to dedicate and set aside to make a difference. So if you are looking to make new friends, learn new skills and enrich your life through meeting some wonderful and unusual people, then volunteering is the activity for you.

 Health and wellbeing

If you decide to volunteer you are not only going to improve the health and wellbeing of others, it will also have a great impact on your own. When you volunteer, you will experience a natural ‘helper’s high’, the instant buzz that you get through assisting other people. When you volunteer, you may be put in situations that place you under pressure, meaning that you get a boost as endorphins or happy hormones course through your entire body. Not to mention when you volunteer you will also be having a positive impact on the health and well-being of the people or communities that you are going to help. From the elderly to young children, if you want to see your energy levels increase and help both yourself and others to feel healthy and well, then consider volunteering.

Quality time

Volunteering will also see you learn how to work better in a team of new and interesting people from all different walks of life. So, it is up to you to learn how to get on with your new team and work closely with them. Consider booking a visit Escape Room in Charlotte, so that you can learn how to bond and make a difference together. Team building activities are the perfect way so that you can learn how to grow together with your new team so that you are prepared to make a difference for the better.

Be realistic

If you are looking to dedicate your time towards volunteering, then you will need to remain realistic right from day one as to how much time you are willing to spend towards helping new projects and communities. Volunteering could quickly become a top priority in your life as you make new friends and get more involved in new and exciting projects. So, it is important before you even sign up that you are clear and realistic as to how much time you want to give back – although be prepared to enjoy yourself so much, that these hours soon increase.

Volunteering is the perfect way to meet a range of interesting and unusual people from all walks of life, as you give back and help communities or individuals. Not only does volunteer benefit your own health and wellness levels, but you will also positively impact that of others. So, if you are looking to learn new skills, meet new people and make a change for the better then be sure to sign up today.

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