According to the spring tradition of “Marti” or “Martia,” adults and children wear a small bracelet made of red and white thread from March 1st till the 31st. The tradition dates back to ancient Greece and is held throughout the Balkans.
It is believed that the custom of “Martis” origins in Ancient Greece and specifically in the Eleusinian Mysteries, when the people who participated used to wear a thread named “Kroki” around their right hand and left foot. Nowadays, the custom is still carried on with the red and white threaded bracelet and it is worn throughout the whole month of March. The bracelet is threaded on the last day of February.
The bracelet was said to protect from diseases and the rays of the sun, which are supposed to be very strong during March. Back in the days, dark skin signified impurity, especially for girls, for whom the beauty standards dictated that skin should be pale and the cheeks rosy.
In several regions in Greece, at the end of the month, the bracelet is placed on rose buses after they’ve seen the first swallow, so it can pick it up and build its nest. In other regions, the bracelet is wrapped around pitchers in order to protect the water from the sun and keep it cold. Others tie the bracelet around a tree so that it fructifies.