The greek custom of “March”

Here in Greece, we like to share wishes, like have a nice week, have a nice month, have a nice weekend. We are never tired of this! Haha! So I wish you have a nice month, the first month of the spring! And I will tell you about an old custom, the custom of “March” bracelets. 🙂
History
The ancient Greeks wore “March” bracelets and the girls adorned the statue of goddess Athena with “March”.
martis braceletPausanias says that this superstition had been adopted from the Egyptians. At the end of the month, they washed the red string in the river of Ilissos and hid it away for another year. So this string would pass from generation to generation and the older it was, the luckiest it was considered.

The custom & interpretations
The “March” bracelet, is an ancient custom spread throughout the Balkans, mostly due to its adoption by the Byzantines, who maintained it throughout the years. It is believed to have originated from the ancient Greece, and specifically the Eleusinian Mysteries, because the high priests of the Eleusinian Mysteries used to tie a red thread, called the “yolk” in their right hand and their left foot.From 1 until 31March, in modern Greece, we are wearing a bracelet made of twisted white and red thread on our wrist, which we call the “March”. It is a custom according to which the person wearing the “March”, mostly young children, is protected either by disease, or as our mothers said “not to burn in the sun” or not to “get black from the sun” or for the “evil eye”. Symbolically, the white and red color is often found in superstitions when we want to prevent something bad.martisThe ‘March’ is made on the last day of February and worn either as a finger ring, either on the wrist like a bracelet. Sometimes, rarely, it is even worn in the big toe to prevent the person who wears it from tripping.In some areas of the country they hung the thread all night on the branches of a rose to donate flowering, while in other areas they put it around clay pitchers to protect the water from the sun and keep it cold. In other areas they would wear it until they had seen the first swallows, and  then they left it on rose trees, so that the birds would take it and build their nest.In my mothers village, Fourka, we wear the “March” untill the first day of April and then take it off and throw the thread on the roof tiles, or a tree, so that the birds will build their nest with it.So, have a wonderful March and don’t forget to make your own “March” bracelet! 🙂

One Comment Add yours

  1. Wonderful. I live Greece so much for its history and mythology. This makes me want to return immediately, thank you!

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