February 28, 2013

Martisor, Amulet of Spring and Friendship

The "Mărţişor" is an amulet, a talisman of friendship or love given on the Martisor holiday (March 1st / 1 Martie) - the symbol of the beginning of the spring / simbolul sosirii primaverii. This amulet is knitted in white and red threads (wool, cotton, or silk) as a symbol of passing from the white season of winter to the red spring (fire & blood) according to the Daco-Thracian origins and as a symbol of vitality (the red thread) and victory (the white thread) according to the Roman origins. The treads were named "The Years's Rope/ funia anului" and initially were used to be made by black and white wool threads symbolizing death and life / darkness and light / good and evil. In the Romanian tradition, the season's colors (spring = red, summer = green, autumn = black and winter = white)  were used as patterns in Romanian folk costumes, in pottery, in folk carpets and traditionally good luck amulets.

Martisor, Romanian Amulet of Spring and Friendship

So, the Romanian tradition of "Martisor" has been traced in the Roman and Daco-Thracian origins, according to many archaeological researches. Both nations used to celebrate New Year's Eve on 1 March. The Thracian name of "March/ Martie" was given after the "Marsyas Siles" - god of land and vegetation, the inventor of flute / fluier / traditional musical instrument.  The Roman name of "March / Martie" was given after the god "Mars" - god of wars and the agriculture.
Traditionally, Martisors have been given by men to the children, young girls and women in their lives, who then wear the martisor pinned to their blouses or tied around their necks or on their left hands. They may be only a small bouquet of spring flowers "snow drops/ ghiocei" or "Narcissus/ Narcise", a heart, a shell, a lucky chimney sweeps, four-leaf clover or horseshoes talismans, small medallions or coins twisted with red-and-white threads.

Old Romanian Coin - Martisor, my lucky talisman
 Old Romanian Coin - Martisor, my lucky talisman

Traditionally they are worn for the first 12 days of March (or in some regions, until May 1st, at the feast of "Arminden"), than the treads may be tied to a blossoming spring tree or blossoming spring flower to pay homage to the nature and with the belief that all the wishes would come true. The talisman is kept the whole year and would protect the person and bring good luck to the whole house in the next coming year.

Although the  weather looks more like winter, let me offer a virtual Martisor, an Amulet of Spring and Friendship, to all RomaniaMagicLand readers and wish you a beautiful Spring!

February 9, 2013

To The Star

To athwart, to rising star
It's such a long pathway
That has been needed thousand years
To lightened our journey.

Maybe by ages it has been cooled
When passing through yon skies,
Yet only now its cosmic ray
Strays to enlighten our eyes.

The icon of the star that died
Slowly ascends to empyrean,
It eased the light when it ain't seen yet
We see it now, when it was gone.

Thus when our sticking grief
Floats off beneath the nights
The shattered cloud of ashes' flies 
Rekindles yet our feelings.

Luceafarul - The evening star - Eminescu - 

 Mural Painting by Sabin Balasa
La Steaua care-a rasarit
E-o cale-atat de lunga
Ca mii de ani i-au trebuit
Luminii sa ne-ajunga.

Poate de mult s-a stins in drum
In departari albastre
Iar raza ei abia acum
Luci vederii noastre.

Icoana stelei ce-a murit
Incet pe cer se suie
Era pe cand nu s-a zarit
Azi o vedem si nu e.

Tot astfel, cand al nostru dor
Pieri in noapte-adanca
Lumina stinsului amor
Ne urmareste Inca.

"To The Star/ La Steaua" by Mihai Eminescu is one of the poems which I've translated to English couple of years ago... I've just remembered about it when I've came along the IAU website and I've read about couple of asteroids with Romanian names. (The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the authority internationally recognized for assigning designations to celestial planetary and satellite nomenclature).  
Mihai Eminescu was known widely as "The Evening Star of Romanian Literature / Luceafarul Literaturii Romane" and seems like his journey through the empirean as 9495 Eminescu (4177 T-1) was started just in 2000 at Dr. Magdalena Stavinski suggestion, long time after he had been enlighten our world. The description of Eminescu's contribution from NASA official website is very rewarding:
"The Romantic poet Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889) tackled the essential problems of human existence---life, death, love, faith, hope, struggle. He accomplished this by literary means that remain unique. As a genius of universal culture, he was often compared with Shakespeare and Goethe."

"Exodus towards Light -- Exodul spre lumina", by Sabin Balasa

Continuing  my journey among stars and asteroids who had been named to honor Romania... I need to mention about  7986 Romania (1981 EG15) asteroid, which is honoring the magic country "located in southeast Europe, with Bucharest as its capital. It has a land area roughly one-third that of France, and contains the Carpathian mountains, Danube river, and borders the Black Sea. Its cultural history spans two millennia and the Romanian language is of Latin origin." ( thank to qdelta who shared next video)
1940 marked the rising of Transilvania asteroid - named 1537 Transylvania (1940 QA).
1974 revealed Moldova onto sky, asteroid named 2419 Moldavia (1974 SJ) .
and the Danube / Dunarea flows  not only between Black Forest of Germania and Black Sea, Romania...since 1930 it became a cosmic river whose water flows around the sun.

I recall my visit, as a child, to the Observatory Vasile Urseanu/  Observatorul Astronomic Vasile Urseanu.
I was so impressed by the mystery outlying beyond the faraway... 
I've heard then, for first time, about the contribution of  many Romanian researchers in celestial physics and astronomy.  Nicolae Donici (1875-1957), the most important messenger for Romanian astronomy around the world and one of the founders of International Astronomical Union, was immortalized postmortem on the skies as 9494 Donici (3212 T-1), also, at Dr Magdalena Stavinschi's suggestion.

I thank those who realized and update the map of Asteroids with Romanian names from Observatory Vasile Urseanu/  Observatorul Astronomic Vasile Urseanu. (always on their website will find an update info about Romanian names on the sky- the attached map shows the position of asteroids and planets for March 1st, 2013 even today we are just on February, 9th) 

Unfortunately, there are just few people knowing about her contribution into astrometry, celestial mechanics, history of astronomy and astronomical education. Dr. Magdalena Stavinschi received in 2004 UNESCO Excellence Award "Cecilia Banc for Science Popularization". Over the years, she was Director of the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, active member of several IAU Divisions, and Founder member of the European Astronomical Society, EAS.

George Enescu (1881-1955, Romanian composer known worldwide for his rhapsodies and symphonies),  9493 Enescu (3100 T-1)  and Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957, one of he greatest 20-th century sculptor known worldwide) 6429 Brancusi (4050 T-1). (For those who want to deep into Brancusi's opera, here is my previous article) started to glimmer on the skies also due to her proposals.

To athwart, to the next starlet ... I wish Dr Stavinski to become the newest Romanian name rising to the sky.