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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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The Man Who Unlocked the Universe Produced by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva and Timur Tillyaev

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Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva and Timur Tillyaev

The Man Who Unlocked the Universe is a film that narrates the life and work of the great ruler, warrior and astronomer Ulugh Beg, one of the most outstanding minds in astronomy who also had to live an intense and exciting life in all senses.

Ulugh Beg became an enlightened leader of his time and turned Samarkand, the Uzbek city where he lived, into the world’s great science centre 150 years before Galileo discovered the telescope. The film, produced by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva and Timur Tillyaev, has critical and spectator support and can be found on digital platforms such as iTunes or Amazon.

This film allows the viewer to meet this somewhat unknown genius and delve into his fascinating life from his birth as a prince to his untimely death announced in the stars he loved so much. This film has a rating of 9 out of 10 in IMDB review and undoubtedly has been a tribute to this leader of the medieval era who was a pioneer studying the stars and the universe.

Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, the Uzbek producer behind this success

The success and production of this exciting film would not have been possible without the bet of Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, an Uzbek philanthropist well known in her country for her personal commitment to all kinds of charitable work, especially with the most disadvantaged children in her country. A work she is doing with her husband Timur Tillyaev.

This film has been a personal commitment of Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva and Timur Tillyaev. They wanted to make known to the world the figure of one of the most important scientists of Uzbek origin of all time.

Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva served as Uzbekistan’s envoy to UNESCO for more than 10 years and has been President of the Federation of Gymnastics of Uzbekistan from 2005 to March 2018.

Her strong belief in education, culture and sports as key elements in promoting peace and tolerance also encompasses the cultural realm, and therefore her interest in producing the film The Man Who Unlocked the Universe. She understands that education can act as a bridge between different civilizations helping to overcome ignorance and stereotypes.

In any case The Man Who Unlocked the Universe has become an international success and the figure of Ulugh Beg has been put in value thanks to her.

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PRAMA, the new revolutionary interactive fitness program taking the wold by storm

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This revolutionary new fitness and training method is proving that with the addition of modern technology you really can get amazing results in improving your fitness levels.

The technology used plays a vital role in every training session. This is PRAMA, where you train to the rhythm of music and lights set according to a session programmed to suit you. It add a true sense of fun and achievement. Demand for PRAMA classes are already high as word travels about this new interactive exercise, and it is now the new hot trend in gyms across the US and UK.

This revolution is reaching gyms that are at the forefront of modern fitness, who are adapting their available spaces to cater for this new concept in interactive fitness that combines music, choreography and technology.

But what is PRAMA? The easiest way to describe it is to quote Jennifer Coccia, the Director of Asfalt Fitness in New York, who said that her clients felt as if they were entering a crossover between an arcade game and a playground, “yet getting the best workout of their lives”.

The PRAMA system coordinates music, lights and time and for those who their normal training has become mundane can revitalise that motivation and help them get that joy from working out once again. This is what lies behind the whole concept, bring the fun and party element to fitness, in an immersive, interactive and very motivating experience.

“A crossover between an arcade game and a playground”

The treadmills, static bicycles and all the usual paraphernalia you expect to find in a usual gym are put aside to make way for what seems to be like “a crossover between an arcade game and a playground,” says Marcos Requena, CEO of Pavigym.

But PRAMA is not about improvisation or random workouts. These approaches are not productive for getting the best results. Instead the trainers will push their clients through a series of electrical choreographed workouts, interacting with them through the floor, walls and other areas, to complete a series of exercise circuits with high intensity.

PRAMA is already being spoken about in all the major media, and we are seeing many famous athletes, such as FC Barcelona, Boca Juniors or Nicolás Anelka players have trained using the PRAMA methodology. It is really taking off across cities like New York, London, Paris … all this has only served to increase demand that is exceeding all expectations of the gym directors who have deployed it..

The users of gyms are demanding it because, even though the primary focus of improving fitness and health is still there, because it is provided through a fun concept, it becomes enjoyable for those who previously would have found the work out a real chore. You almost forget you are working out!

What can you expect from the PRAMA experience?

The musical factor is key to the experience, it has long been known that music helps with a workout. PRAMA goes one step further and throws lighting into the mix as well to make it truly immersive. The LEDs work in time to the music and move at the rhythm of those taking part. The walls and the floor are all part of the game.

To give a practical example, those who have spent their childhood playing the Twister from time to time, -the game consisting of putting one foot in the blue circle, one hand in the red one and so on until you can’t do anymore without falling over- can understand a little of what this revolutionary method is about, although in a very simplified way.

Another example is those console dance games carried out at home where you have to follow the choreographed moves, or using a dance mat, is similar and known to be great for fitness and losing weight.

Of course the issue with those examples is that movement is restricted, you can’t stop or pause without the game ending. It is not adaptable to help you achieve fitness goals and it doesn’t help you grow. You can waste a lot of calories stopping and starting.

PRAMA easily adapts to the needs of adults, families, children and athletes

The system is programmed according to each person, be it an elite athlete or a beginner but you can also find programs for children and families. The sessions are 45 minutes and are beneficial for the body and mind, so they can even be rolled out in centers with children with ADHD and other problems, but also can be practiced as a family as a way to improve the time spent together but also improving fitness.

Each 45 minute session can also be ramped up for more intensive workouts, and gives a huge advantage to practitioners of the force program. In this program the floor and walls are complemented by medium to high load accessories, to transition the interactive elements into a more HIIT format that doesn’t work well for everyone.

So there really is a workout intensity for every age group and capability, including an innovative one in which you can play a PRAMA version of basketball, a combination as healthy as addictive, which can only be a good thing when it comes to forming those lifelong fitness habits.

In fact if you know you’re going to the gym, it will make people more inclined to use their membership and actually go, and better attendance means better member retention.

A definitive full body workout suitable for any age and ability, and highly adaptable.

It is not only for losing weight, although results there are pretty good so far with PRAMA, given that it is a system more likely to be stuck with long term. It is also a change to gain strength and agility, and have fun with friends and family.

The ground and walls are sensitive to pressure, and the interactive screens and light combinations that attune to the body’s highs and lows during a workout show just how clever this new system really is.

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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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