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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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Culture and Lifestyle

12 Travel Podcasts To Inspire Your Next Trip

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As the COVID-19 restrictions ease up, travel is on the cards again. If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about traveling, you might be glad of a little inspiration. These podcasts have plenty of traveling stories and tips to share. Whether you’re traveling solo or in a group, you’ll find lots of great ideas here.

1 . Active Travel Adventures 

ATA curates travel adventures for people who love to paddle, bike, hike and more. If you love exploring the planet in an adventurous way, this is the podcast for you. Active Travel Adventures want to inspire people to dream big when it comes to travel.

The podcast is hosted by Kit Parks who also curates the traveling trips. Here you’ll learn about everything from trekking Nepal, to hiking Machu Picchu, or rafting in Colorado. In recent episodes Kit talks about hiking the canyons of Sedona. Throughout the shows you’ll learn everything you need to know about exploring the USA by campervan, and Gorilla trekking in Uganda.

2. Extra Pack Of Peanuts

Extra Pack Of Peanuts is brought to you by Travis Sherry, a world traveler and entrepreneur. Throughout the shows you’ll learn all you need to know about traveling more, (without breaking the bank). Travis interviews plenty of famous travelers including Chris Christensen and Bruce Poon Tip. You’ll get tips on cheap hotels, budgeting and flyer miles. In a particularly interesting episode Travis chats to Mike Savas. Mike talks about his recent travels, ‘learning 12 skills in 12 countries in 12 months.’

3. Girls Talk Travel

In this awesome podcast, hosts Alice and Megsy bring you all you need to know about female travel. The show provides practical and inspirational info about traveling as a woman today. Each week they’re joined by guests who have been there, with plenty of motivational stories to tell. 

Girls Talk Travel dives into a range of different topics including ‘How to be assertive during your travels’ and ‘Kickass female travelers to follow’. You’ ll get traveling safety tips, and advice about adventure activities. The ‘Hometown Highlights’ feature invites female travelers to talk about their hometowns, explaining why other travelers should take a trip there.

4. Outdoorsy Diva 

The Outdoorsy Diva is hosted by Lauren G, a top travel blogger. Tune in for travel trends and interviews with travelers. Throughout these episodes you’ll get lots of advice about making your life more adventurous! Episodes cover a diverse range of themes including ‘swimming with manatees’, ‘a tour of Florida Springs’ and ‘empowering black women’. Lauren interviews Dr. Kim Walker, founder of the Abundant Life Adventure Club. Kim shares what inspired her to create the club, along with her plans for the future. Expect a freshly unique podcast, with plenty of wisdom to share.

5. The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

Amanda Kendle brings you an awesome travel show, packed with fun stories from travelers across the world. Explore topics like getting lost, meeting locals and learning languages. The Thoughtful Travel Podcast offers advice about planning a big trip, single parent travel and travel trends.

Here you’ll find plenty of useful advice to inspire your next trip. Check out themes like, ‘emotional travel’, ‘volunteering experiences’ , and ‘traveling for a sporting event’. If you’re a sports fan you might consider researching the best NFL stadiums when booking a trip.

6. Women Who Travel 

The Women Who Travel podcast is hosted by Meredith Carey and Lale Arikoglu, (both 

Condé Nast Traveler editors). WWT wants to inspire you to get out there and have a real adventure. Lake and Meredith discuss subjects like outdoor hiking gear, traveling in a van, solo travel and meaningful souvenirs. Check out episodes such as ‘what we wish we knew before moving abroad’, and ‘traveling post COVID-19.’ Learn about how traveling can help you to process grief, and the beauty of meeting new people. To ease your worries about traveling solo, Women Who Travel have got all the tips you’ll need.

7. Alpaca My Bags

Alpaca My Bags is a podcast about responsible tourism. Each week Erin Hynes and guests discuss what it means to be a responsible tourist. Erin explores plenty of different themes including authentic travel, travel privilege, sustainability and more. Throughout these shows you’ll get to learn unique perspectives, helping you to be mindful when you travel. Themes on the show have included, ‘colonialism and travel’, ‘is voluntourism ethical?’ and ‘the complexities of adventure travel.’

8. The Family Travel Podcast

The Family Travel Podcast helps families to plan their next trip. The idea is to show families that they don’t need a huge budget to plan the trip of a lifetime. Here you’ll find plenty of inspirational stories from families who are traveling the world. There are plenty of highlights, tips and hints, and more. You’ll get advice on home schooling, funding, destinations, documenting your travels, and lots more. There’s plenty to learn including preparing for family travel and using YouTube to fund your trip. Traveling full time with a family is possible, you just need to be prepared to get a little creative.

9. Wild Ideas Worth Living

If you love adventure and the outdoors, you’ll certainly love Shelby Stanger’s podcast. During these shows Shelby talks to travelers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and authors, about how they’ve made a ‘wild idea’ come to life. To inspire your next escapade, Wild Ideas is what you need. Tune in for a great interview with Angela Tucker, the creator of an epic wildlife documentary ‘The Trees Remember’. Throughout these shows you’ll get plenty of awesome ideas. If you’re looking to do more outdoor activities, Wild Ideas can show you how.

10. City Travel With Kids 

This show is brought to you by Keri Hedrick, Marianna Rogerson and Marta Correale. City Travel With Kids help families to plan their trips, with all the best advice. Learn about the best places to travel, dining recommendations, and managing your itinerary. Whether you want to take your kids to Melbourne, Singapore or Tokyo, you’ll get all the recommendations you need. Get great advice on ‘family travel products’, and ‘flying with babies and toddlers’. Many families worry about traveling with children, but with this podcast, you’ll keep your trip stress free!

11. The Indie Travel Podcast

Craig and Linda Martin are the globe hopping pair behind the Indie Travel podcast. The couple started traveling full time in 2006. Check out the tips and stories, to motivate yourself and get planning. The Indie Travel Podcast offers plenty of ‘how-to’ guides. Learn about budget travel in Auckland, or how to travel with kids. There’s advice about road trips, long flights, and plenty of interviews with fellow travelers. Whether you’re traveling as a family or traveling alone, the Indie Travel Podcast has plenty of wisdom to share. 

12. Between The Mountains 

This is a show for all the explorers, hikers and kayakers. Each week Chris Kilworth interviews traveler guests, with a range of epic stories to share. Here are stories of mountain climbs, forest treks, extreme sports and more. These stories will inspire you toward a different kind of traveling experience. Between The Mountains will give you lots of amazing ideas for your next trip. Expect plenty of entertainment and laughs along the way.

Planning a traveling trip takes a lot of preparation. From choosing your destinations and itinerary to booking your transport and accommodation. Some people like to get super organized, while others like to have a bit of more of a relaxed itinerary. Wherever you are on the scale, don’t forget to check out a few of these handy podcasts.

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Culture and Lifestyle

Common Places To Seek Motivation and Inspiration

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As a social species, we humans thrive on interacting and learning from others. When there are problems to be solved, we can pool together our experiences to find out the right solutions. That’s kind of the basis of how humans have come so far–because we’re an intelligent species that understands the importance of cooperation.

But there’s another reason why we humans like to socialise and learn about one another; because it can help give us direction in life. When we’re struggling to overcome a plateau or need inspiration for something, we can typically look at what other people have achieved, what they’re doing, and also what they could become.

So here are some of the most common places to look if you’re lacking motivation or want to seek out something inspirational to help push your life forward.

Seeking out inspirational figures and learning about them

A surprisingly inspirational and valuable resource that is available to everyone is Wikipedia. We can search up almost anyone and find out plenty of information about them, what their life was like, where they came from, and how they rose to success. We can learn about entrepreneurs that we want to mimic, we can learn from famous people in our field, or we can even learn from influential figures.

But it doesn’t always have to be someone extremely famous. We can also look at people such as Mitch Vanhille, a successful athlete that understands the power of inspiration and shares their journey for others to learn from. Similarly, we can learn from YouTube videos that discuss interesting or difficult topics.

Wherever we look, there is someone out there that could inspire us and give us the motivation we need to break our limitations and reach new heights. We just need to drop any pride that we have and start looking up to other figures.

Understanding a different way of life

Another great way to inspire yourself is to look at another worldview. For example, the process of understanding different cultures can help you embrace a unique way of life. You don’t need to adopt it yourself, but understanding their motivations, what inspires them, and also what compels them can be an amazing way to learn about humans and their actions.

There are so many different ways to approach life that it can really be eye-opening to see how other people plan to make their journey through life. Some people might be hyper-focused on reaching their goals, while others might have a more laid-back approach. Whatever your reasons or motivations, these are both extremely valid ways to tackle life’s challenges.

So whatever struggles you encounter, it’s important to reach out and learn from other people. After all, we’re a social species and we tend to learn more when we start engaging others, interacting with them, and just talking about things. So if you ever need some motivation in the future, we hope these tips can help you overcome life’s challenges and get you back on the right track to your own definition of success.

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DIY Bathroom Repairs Everyone Should Know

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They say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but if something is stuck or clogged, one should be on the know-how. Reaching almost a year since quarantine began, people have been spending longer than average locked inside their homes. With this, homes may have experienced more wear and tear than usual, especially bathrooms.

It can be frustrating to feel helpless when dealing with something as tedious as a leaky faucet, a broken toilet, or a clogged drain. Considering this, small do-it-yourself remedies may be resourceful. 

That began said, if challenges are too drastic, larger renovations may be in order. If that is the case, consider commercial bathroom renovations instead. 

For the meantime, these are some nice and easy-to-do remedies than can offer your bathroom a quick fix. 

Uncloging a Bathroom Drain

When taking a shower or washing your hands, having water rise from the drain is the least you would want. Slow bathroom drains are often caused by a build-up of soap-scum and hair. Many resort to using chemical drain cleansers to remedy this; however, these products carry toxic chemicals and can be ineffective at times. 

Instead, use a plastic hair snake. This product resembles a long zip-tie which can bend inside pipes to snag the accumulated gunk.

To begin, remove the drain stopper before inserting the wand. This will require unscrewing and disconnecting the stopper’s horizontal and vertical rods. After doing this, you may finally insert the snake. Once the cleaning process begins, beware: it’ll get gross. As a tip, try to girate or make sweeping motions with the snake in order to grab as much gunk as possible. 

Fixing a Broken Toilet

Dealing with a broken toilet can be a common issue. 

If the toilet won’t flush, check inside the it’s tank. To do so, remove the toilet’s rectangular lid; the lid can be found behind the toilet seat. Look for the chain which connects the flush lever to the plug at the bottom of the tank; the plug is also known as the flapper. If a toilet isn’t flushing, the likeliest answer is that the chain is disconnected from the lever. To resolve this, simply reattach the chain. 

Meanwhile, if water keeps on filling your toilet, it most likely means your toilet is flushing by itself. This isn’t good as it is wasteful. The likeliest reason would be that the toilet has a leaky flapper. To fix this, turn off the water valve from behind/ underneath your toilet. Flush your toilet until emptied. Check the flapper’s size and purchase another flapper. Brands do not matter as long as they match in size. Replace the old flapper with a new one, and voila! 

Replacing a Leaky Faucet

Fixing a leaky faucet often requires replacing the parts inside the handles. To do so, first turn off the hot and cold water valves. Doing this will help prevent any unwanted water geysers from jumping out of the faucet or handles. 

Once you’ve turned off the water valves, check if water is still trickling down. If so, rather than replacing the handles, this means your faucet is in need of a plumber. If it isn’t leaking, you may proceed. 

Pry off the handles and loosen the screws underneath. Once both items are removed, remove the top with an adjustable wrench and pull out all the parts. The best tip is to use needle nose pliers to do this. Head to a home improvement store and ask for help in searching for new replacements. To reassemble, repeat the steps in reverse and test the faucet.

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