Friday, 1 March 2013

Mărţişor and Nowruz

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Suddenly we have sunny weather for Mărţişor. Wonderful to walk hatless and scarfless along the Calea Victoriei in the spring sunshine.

Rather than explain, dear reader, what 
Mărţişor means, I paste this link and this one.

I read in the papers that traditional mărţişors are going out of fashion, so I made a point of buying the most traditional ones I could find from the mărţişor fair at the National Peasant Museum and giving them to the young ladies who work so diligently for me. Even the red string on the mărţişors was home made, said the lady I bought them from, who had come to Bucharest to sell them for three pounds each. She told me, in her lilting Transylvanian accent, about her village, fifteen miles from Bistriţa, where I am ashamed that I have never been (it gets mentioned at the start of that trashy potboiler, Dracula). I felt like one who has been long in city pent and a great surge of desire to be in the country. I would stop planning exotic holidays in China, Burma and Mozambique and spend the summer and Christmas with peasants in Romania. I have to get out of the city and see the real Romania while it still exists, before Romanian countryside becomes a patchwork of golf courses and shopping centres.

What I failed to do was invite a lady for dinner and instead hung around the office and then, because my local restaurant was too smoky, ate a pizza at home. Life is for living, although it gets used up quickly whether you live it or not. Luckily, I have a second chance to invite a lady as March 8th is International Women's Day. A day which, if it is marked at all in the West, is celebrated by left-wing feminist harridans, but in Eastern Europe, where they are sick of socialism, it is about giving presents and inviting women to dinner.

I keep thinking today of being in Iraq for 
Nowruz, the Kurdish spring celebration,  two years ago, a very happy week in my life. I wrote about it here. The Kurds and Iranians are more accurate than the Romanians and know that spring starts on 21st March. Nowruz is a festival which long predates Islam where spring is greeted by families and bunches of adolescents picnicking, building bonfires and drinking tea. People wear traditional costumes, which have gone out of fashion for day to day use. Everyone takes a  week off work to visit their families and all sorts of innocent alcohol-free diversions take place.

According to the internet Nowruz is celebrated by some in Turkey and also by some groups in the Balkans, but I cannot find out much more. Apparently some Sufis in Albania celebrate Nowruz.

1 comment:

  1. respect, Mr Paul. "Life is for living"

    ReplyDelete