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From the 1st until the 31st of March, children wear on the wrist of their hand a bracelet made of twisted white and red thread, the "March" or "Martitsi". According to a popular tradition, the "March" protects children from the first sun of spring, so that it will not burn them.
It is made on the last day of February and worn either as a ring or at the wrist like a bracelet. Sometimes it is even worn in the big toe, so that the person wearing it will not stumble.
The custom is that mothers have to tie the children’s hand or foot with this string of white and red thread, in order to shield the rays of March’s sun, which is considered very dangerous. The March sun usually burns and blackens the faces of children. But blackness meant ugliness, especially for girls who tradition wanted them to be wanted white with pink cheeks: "whoever has a precious daughter; March’s sun shall not see her."
It is customary to wear it until the end of the month. Then, after taking it of, they hang it on a rose tree so that their cheeks will be red as roses.
"March" is not only worn by people. In some areas of the country they hung the thread all night in the branches of a rose so that it will flourish, while in other areas they put it around the pitchers to protect the water from the sun and keep it cold. Elsewhere it is worn until they see the first swallows, and then leave it on rose trees, to get the birds to build their nest. Elsewhere they wear it until the Resurrection and then tie it to the Easter candles to burn.
The "March" or "Martitsi" is an ancient custom, spread all across the Balkans, due to its adoption by the Byzantines, who maintained it. It is believed that it has its origins in ancient Greece, specifically in the Eleusinian Mysteries, because the initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries used to tie a thread, "Kroki", in their right hand and their left foot.