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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 art that makes a difference

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Today’s society seems not to give importance to art (the real, authentic art). As the writer Mario Vargas Llosa said in one of many of his essays, we are witnessing an era where everything is trivialized. This explains – according to the novelist – the scarcity of really severe and objective criticism of the arts.

When someone reads the substantial criticisms of the renowned Latin American intellectual, he feels that all is lost. That the decline of the arts, the disdain for literature and fiction as forms of escape from our crushing reality, have condemned us to what the poet T. S. Elliot predicted in the middle of the last century: The Culture Crisis. What might well be called culture against culture, where a toilet or a simple dot on the wall can become art, only because a small group of people without training or knowledge decides it.

It seems that it is enough that the opinion of each one to say that what, for that person is art, must be recognized unquestionably as art for and by all.

What about contemporary art?

Fortunately, there are still signs of authentic beauty in some arts. It is enough to turn on the television or open YouTube to see how private art collections have increased in homes and companies. And that having samples, such as paintings, figures, models and pieces of art, give a warmer, more exciting and cultured atmosphere to space; in addition to the decorative and visual elements, which make the location in a fascinating place.

What used to be seen as something strange (or for strangers), like collecting action figures, superheroes, board games, today has become a practice, and even a well-rewarded profession, which does not escape the of the TV reality shows fever. 

There are already collectors specialized in comics and action figures such as Spiderman, Deadpool, X-Men, Batman, Star Wars, Transformers, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Narnia and other icons of pop culture not only with dimensions of collectable boxes but in real life sculptures and statues of great value, valued in thousands and even millions of dollars.

This has made the details or distinctions of each figure more valuable and generates a visual impact on whoever sees the collections. An activity has thus emerged which, we can safely say, is a real art: the conservation and restoration of figurines.

Due to the level of detail, care and dedication that these people put into bringing models, dummies and action figures, the miniature painting service is a craft for collectors. Or for those who want their collections highlight by their good taste and realism.

A practice with a very loyal niche

These practices and services are not recent. It is already a particular, attractive market that is continuously growing, as private collectors and collections increase. There is no restoration, no matter how hard or impossible it may seem, that the right professionals in this art refuse to do. Their services have become known through the networks, television and specialist YouTubers, as there are already channels dedicated exclusively to this type of art, and to contract their attentive service dial the telephone or visit their web pages. 

These craftsmen do not spare any cost, time or efforts. No matter if it is rubber, anime, wood, glass, plastic or any other material. A few companies in this branch stand out for their neatness in work and for restoring and painting in record time. 

Other companies also stand out for offering courses. There are in person or online, on restoration and painting, inviting authentic specialists in restoration and collectors to give their comments on this beautiful profession. It is becoming more and more lucrative as time goes by, and the rare and collectable figures are marketed and exported.

Certain professional restorers, specialized in specific types of figures, make known through their websites and social networks, there before and after works, and upload videos showing their outstanding talent in painting and restoration work, an art that looks like a goldsmith.

These trades are especially attractive for people who like to paint at home, do handicrafts or who are dedicated to jobs that require patience and detail. It’s not surprising that many entrepreneurs and artists who were initially thinking of taking up other activities have seen collectables and restoration as a promising sustainable business model and way of life.

Those people who have an inclination for crafts, drawing, painting, carpentry, in the assembly of figures and models, now can see in the miniature painting service an opportunity to invest time, effort and money and make their dreams come true. This leads to healthy and intense competition, to determine which company offers a service of restoration and painting of quality, putting effort and dedication, trying to give a careful and personalized service to this activity that however needs to be exported to other latitudes

Restoration is definitely a life-changing art that makes a difference.

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The Best Art Galleries You Mustn’t Miss This Year

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Art gallery woman

“El Sol” Chema Gil Ramírez, Calavera Gallery.

Hey art lovers! We have created for you a list with the best art galleries you mustn’t miss this year. From the greatest masters from long time ago, to contemporary installations around the world, where you can find photography, painting, sculpture and all kind of art.

The Best Art Galleries Of The Year

The Hole, in New York City

Kathy Grayson founded The Hole Gallery in 2010. A space of young and ambitious art located on Bowery Street in New York City, where artists in the eighties used to live and party. It usually hosts two exhibitions at once.

Calavera Gallery, in Italy

Leaders of international art events all around the world, Calavera Gallery owns a prestigious collection of sculptures, paintings, photographs, illustrations and multimedia art works. This art gallery has offices in Tokyo, Paris, Switzerland, Mexico and Austria. Here you’ll find modern and contemporary art.

Levy Gorvy, in New York City and London

Founded by Dominique Lévy, this art gallery located in London and NY city is known for showing contemporary minimal, conceptual, abstract You may enjoy art of artists such as Yves Klein, Frank Stella, Pierre Soulages, Günther Uecker and Dan Colen.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, in Paris, Pantin, Salzburg, and London

The Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac was founded in Austria in 1983. It is now an international art gallery who represents around 60 artists such as Robert Longo, Imran Qureshi, Alex Katz, Gilbert & George, and Cory Arcangel. It’s known for its Drawings Department in Paris and its ironworks factory located in Pantin.

Lehmann Maupin, in New York and Hong Kong

Founded by Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin, Lehmann Maupin art gallery was founded in SoHo in 1996. Artists such as Os Gemeos, Mr., Mickalene Thomas, Gilbert & George, or Alex Prager are represented in this contemporary space. This gallery is known for giving new artists the opportunity of showing their works of art for the first time.

Sean Kelly Gallery in New York

Sean Kelly founded this gallery focused on performance and installation art in New York City in 1991, after his career at the British Museum. His gallery is located in SoHo, and has exhibited Robert Mapplethorpe and Marina Abramović first works of art.

The Saatchi Gallery, in London

This worldwide gallery may be the number one for young artists in UK. Since its opening, it is known for representing debutants. Let yourself get amazed by recent contemporary art.

Sprueth Magers in Berlin, London, and Los Angeles

At the beginning, Monika Sprüth founded this gallery in Cologne due to the lack of female artists in the city. She opened her art gallery to support art made by women. Artists such as Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Ryan Trecartin and John Baldessari have been represented by Sprueth Magers.

Hans Mayer in Düsseldorf, Germany

This art gallery is specially known for its outdoor sculptures, which are surprisingly amazing. The exciting thing about this site is that it’s home of many types of art, such as dance, theater, music and even fashion shows. Check out its schedule!

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How the world of Harry Potter changed us forever

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Harry potter movie castle

When the first Harry Potter book hit the shelves of bookstores in 1997, JK Rowling could only dream of what would happen next. Over 20 years later and we have seen 6 more books, one play, 8 major motion pictures, merchandise, video games, visitor attraction, a dedicated website in Pottermore, and now a series of prequels revolving around the earlier life of the much loved Albus Dumbledore.

Harry Potter changed everything for both children and adults. It really bought reading, especially among teens, back to life for everyone and now translated into 80 languages it really is leaving a worldwide legacy.

Everyday new young people of discovering the world of Harry Potter

As children are getting older, parents are passing down their owner love of all things Harry Potter to their children, and the lessons given in those books are still more relevant than ever in this increasingly technological world. Friendship, courage, making mistakes and carrying on are so vital to be able to see. The more subtle adult themes around prejudice, politics and media are especially important.

The ability of JK Rowling to weave this wonderfully complex storyline around loveable yet flawed characters is fantastic, and to do all this in a way that resonates with children and young adults is quite a skill. Most Potter fans were not surprised at their great sense of loss when the books finally ended.

Immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter

One of the great ways to really get into the world is through the Harry Potter videogame, where you can actually become the characters and fight your way through to take down Voldemort yourself.

Rumour has is that Warner Bros are planning a brand new RPG game very soon, although there is nothing official yet. However, there was the incident of a Youtube video leaked online of a new game, very quickly taken down by Warner Bros, which seems to suggest there is some truth in the rumour. It seems at this moment that you will be able to create characters and play in an open world and make potions and cast spells. What else you will be able to do is as yet unknown but it is certainly exciting.

There is a whole world of fantasy fiction out there

If videogames are not your thing and you are looking for the next great epic to read then there are plenty of books like Harry Potter.

Take for example the three book saga, The Magicians trilogy. This tells the story of a high school student Quentin, who discovers he is a magician and heads to a magical college in New York. It has also been made into a TV series if you prefer to watch instead of read.

It is certainly a bit more adult than the Harry Potter books but is definitely worth a read for older teens and grown ups.

Another series that will fill the hole left by Potter is the Bartimaeus trilogy, that mixes real historic events with magic and revolves around the character of Nathaniel, an 11 year old apprentice of magic. The fun thing about alternative history is that it had endless possibilities and outcomes.

Of course, one of the other all time great trilogies is the His Dark Materials books. This one is a fantastic story, filled with complicated relationships, great characters and a huge number of emotional ups and downs. It touches on concepts of philosophy and religion and some complex concepts that are somehow made completely understandable. This book will have you in tears at some point, and laughing at others.

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