Connect with us

Culture and Lifestyle

Romania Welcomes Spring with Martisor Day. History and Traditions

Published

on

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

Continue Reading
Comments

Culture and Lifestyle

Do Video Game Driving Skills Translate To Real Life?

Published

on

We’d all love to believe that whatever we do in a video game, we could do in real life. But how does that translate when it comes to playing driving games. Does time spent driving in games like drift hunters offer any real-world value? Can you become a better driver by playing video games?

Or, alternatively, does playing video games make you worse at driving? After all, you probably shouldn’t drive as you might in video games in real life.

Let’s look at the experiments that have been carried out into video games and driving to see whether there is any effect. 

Cognitive Skills and Video Games

There is a considerable amount of evidence already in existence that connects video games and a person’s ability to improve their cognitive skills. Studies show that older adults of around 60-85 could improve their multitasking ability after playing a game called NeuroRacer.

Another study, from the University of Rochester, found that players of action-based games had better decision-making skills and were better able to shut out distractions that occurred around them as they played. 

So, while it is true to say that video games can help you concentrate and multitask, are there any benefits to road users? Let’s find out. 

Video Games and Real Life Driving: An Experiment 

Researchers Maria Rita Ciceri and Daniele Ruscio of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan carried out an experiment that compared the driving skills of people who were gamers against people who were experienced drivers. The experiment’s aim was to whether a video game that is commercially available would be useful for training drivers to spot hazards faster. 

The study had an interest in the effect that video games have on people who are not already experienced as road users. The aim was to see whether gamers and drivers used the same kind of visual search techniques that drivers may use on the road. 

Previous experiments had found that newer drivers will always keep more of a narrow focus with their eyes and that they will also tend to look straight ahead of them, whereas a more experienced driver would scan further afield and spot hazards earlier. 

The skillset needed to scan the road and identify hazards is something that takes a long time to learn and develop. 

The researchers hypothesized that after hours of spending time playing driving games, video gamers would be able to develop the same set of visual search techniques needed to achieve the skill set of an experienced driver. 

To carry out this research, they found 40 male video gamers who each averaged around 10 to 15 hours playing realistic racing or driving games. Half of the gamers would have five years of experience at driving while the other half of the group had never driven a car before. 

All of the test subjects were sat down with a steering wheel and foot pedals. They were then told to follow a series of driving videos and to turn the wheel as though they were actually driving the vehicle. While playing the video a device would track and record each player’s eyes to see where they looked as the game progressed. 

The researchers wanted to see exactly how much attention the non-drivers paid to key safety areas and whether or not they used their mirrors to full use. 

The Results 

After the experiment was over, the outcome was that the drivers with no experience exhibited the same lack of visual search technique as those in the previous experiment who had no driving experience. 

The data from the eye-tracking device of the gamers that didn’t have driving experience in the real world revealed that they were focused on what was going on directly in front of them on the road rather than in the distance.  Opposite to this, the drivers with experience on the road had much more movement in their eyes. When they were behind the wheel, their eyes moved around meaning they were taking in more of the road. 

It is apparent that playing video games can in fact provide you with skills such as focus, the ability to multitask, and to ignore distractions there is no evidence that it makes you into a better driver. 

Unfortunately, if you want to be a better driver, you’ll have to put down your controller and head out and get behind the wheel of a real car. 

Prev postNext post
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading

Culture and Lifestyle

Keeping Your Home In The Best Shape for As Long As Possible

Published

on

For most of us, our homes are our pride and joy. They’re the biggest investment we’re likely to make in our lives. They’re what we work towards day after day. You’re going to want to keep your home in the best shape possible to help maintain the value of your investment. They’re also a space that we can call our own. This is where we’ll let our hair down and relax after work or days out socialising. It’s where we’ll entertain our family and friends and build bonds with our nearest and dearest. So, you’re going to want to keep your home in good shape so it can be a comfortable safe haven for you and a space where you’re proud to bring the closest people in your life. But, just like anything we get good use out of, homes do have a habit of deteriorating. They don’t simply maintain themselves. It’s up to you to make sure that your home stays in the best shape as possible for as long as possible. Here are a few steps that you can take to achieve this.

Survey Your Home

People tend to only carry out surveys on homes in two instances. People who are selling their homes tend to carry out a survey to see what they need to fix about their property to get the highest asking price possible when they put it on the market. People who are buying homes tend to have surveys carried out on prospective properties to ensure that they’re getting their money’s worth and so that they can prepare themselves for any repair work they may be lumbered with if they do go ahead and purchase the property. But why not have a survey carried out on your own home? This will help to alert you to any problems developing within your home that you may need to tackle before issues worsen and genuinely damage your property.

Carry Out Repairs

Many of us ignore things that need to be repaired until they interfere with our lives so much that we can no longer sweep them under the carpet. But this is illogical. Ignoring problems that need to be fixed simply leaves them to get worse and worse, becoming more detrimental to our property and ultimately costing a whole lot more to fix. So, acknowledge issues and tackle them. Whether you need an electrician, plumber, bore drilling services or anything else. It’s much better to get started sooner rather than later!

Decorate Regularly

Many people only decorate when they’re changing the colour scheme or aesthetic of their home. But you should redecorate regularly regardless – even if it means just putting a fresh coat of the same colour paint over the existing coat. A fresh coat will help your home to remain feeling fresh and new. This is something you want to maintain, rather than letting your home become worn down and even dilapidated.

These small steps really can make all the difference. So, make sure to give a few a go!

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading

Culture and Lifestyle

What is Hydroponic Gardening and Why Everyone Should Consider Giving it a Try

Published

on

Gardening has always been a popular hobby. However, not everyone has a space to convert, while others may be reluctant to turn their little patch of grass into a planting area. This is where hydroponics comes in. Hydroponic gardening is perfect for people living in flats or homes without an outside space. But what is hydroponic gardening? And why should everyone consider giving hydroponic gardening a try?

An Overview of Hydroponic Gardening

Simply put, hydroponics is gardening without soil. Plants don’t actually need soil, but they do need light, water, vital nutrients, and mechanical support. This means you only need a way to deliver the nutrient solution the plants require. You could raise the plants floating in water or sitting in a moist soil substitute.

Now that we know a little more about hydroponic gardening, let’s take a look at some of its benefits.

You Can Raise Plants Almost Anywhere

You don’t have to set up the garden in the only window in the kitchen. Instead, you can set up a hydroponic system wherever you have space or where it is the most convenient. The hydroponics system delivers water and nutrients, and most of them have artificial lights that can replace natural light. That’s why you could raise your herb garden in the closet as well as the corner of the kitchen. You can

The Yield Will Probably Be Much Higher than Traditional Gardening

There are many reasons why hydroponics systems produce much more food than a garden plot. You’re raising the crops indoors, so you can raise herbs and vegetables year-round. You can control the nutrients and light levels, so you can adjust environmental parameters to maximize yield or flavour.

The plants don’t waste resources expanding their roots because everything is delivered directly to the plant. The plants also grow faster, allowing you to get your crop significantly sooner. For example, greens often grow twice as fast in a good hydroponic system as they do in soil, and the average crop is 30% larger.

It Is Less Work

You’re not very likely to find weeds growing in your hydroponics system. Your plants are protected from diseases that require soil to survive. They aren’t exposed to pests crawling on the ground, either. This eliminates the need to spray your crops with pesticides. You only have to pick up organic matter to prevent rotting from occurring near the plants. Furthermore, you can control the nutrients delivered to the plants. This simplifies the process of managing soil pH and eliminates the need to check on plants and add fertiliser. A side benefit of hydroponics systems is that you tend to get higher quality crops each and every time.

However, you have to make sure that you start with the right equipment. Suppliers like ProGrow, for instance, offer a variety of growing systems and kits that allow you to get everything you need in one place, no matter what you want to raise or how much space you have.

You’ll Use Fewer Resources

Most hydroponic gardens recirculate the water. This means they don’t need much water except what is required to replace that taken up by the plant’s roots. There’s very little water lost to evaporation. This is why hydroponics systems typically use less water per kilogram of produce produced than traditional gardening. Plants raised in hydroponic systems need relatively little space, too.

Hydroponics allows everyone to raise their own fresh, healthy food with minimal effort. So, we strongly suggest you start looking into it, and see how it could benefit you and your family.

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading

Trending