In 100 words, write about a tradition in Moldova you would like a foreigner to learn about.
These were the words of a homework assignment in the 8th Grade English textbook recently. The class had studied celebrations in English-speaking countries and now it was time to share what they knew about their own celebrations (while practicing English, of course!) “Hmmm….” I said to my partner teacher, “What if we give them the opportunity to really share their thoughts with foreigners?” So here we have, especially for my “foreign” readers, some fascinating Moldovan traditions, as described by three outstanding 8th grade students, in their own words:
Although Spring paid us a brief visit on Friday and Saturday (with temperatures in the 60s we were enjoying short sleeves!), I guess that Winter kicked her out again on Sunday. It started snowing Sunday afternoon, and sub-freezing temperatures are predicted all this week. Today it has snowed steadily all day. (The video above is our courtyard and garden right now.) In the capital they are mobilizing special weather-fighting squads to keep the roads clear and in the north the accumulations are even greater than here in the south. I guess we have to wait a little bit longer for Spring, after all.
Yesterday was the first of March. Here in Moldova, this is the day when folks say goodbye to winter and greet the spring. One way to do this is by exchanging little red-and-white pins called Marțișoare* (singular marțișor) with friends.
As you can see, they take many forms, but the common theme is red and white intertwined cords, and usually a red and a white tassel. Small broaches are exchanged by friends, and larger versions are used as decorations. The most commonly heard legend behind the tradition goes something like this:
Once in a fight with the winter witch, who didn’t want to give up her place, the beautiful lady Spring cut her finger and few drops of her blood the first spring snowdrop poking its head up through the snow. The snowdrop charmed the winter witch and in this way Spring conquered Winter. Source: http://www.Moldova.org
So the red dangles represent the red and white snowdrop flowers that grew in the story. A short version of the red-and-white theme might be: “Goodbye white Winter, hello vibrant, living Spring!”
I felt very loved yesterday, as I received FIVE marțișoare from my partner, my host mom, the school director, the ladies in my Adult English class, and another volunteer!
Meanwhile, outside it continues to snow. I guess the marțișoare will help us keep Spring in our hearts, whatever the weather!