March-such a lovely month to be in Bucharest. The temperatures are not as friendly yet but you can sure see signs of improvement. When it comes to things to do in March in Bucharest then the period between the 1st and the 9th is the star of the show.
The 1st of March is the day of the Mărțișor, a day that celebrates the beginning of spring, of course.
Once upon a time the Sun decided to turn into a young man so he could take part in a village dance. The evil dragon preyed on his chance, kidnapped the Sun and locked him deep in his castle. This caused a lot of pain to everyone, nature and men together: rivers stopped running, birds stopped singing and children stopped laughing.
Nobody knew what to do until a brave young man decided to rescue the Sun. He started on a journey to the dragon’s den, journey lasted three seasons from summer to winter. On the last days of winter the brave man reached the castle.
He fought the beast for days until he finally succeeded and killed it. Weak and wounded, with his last breath, he went to the dungeon and released the Sun who immediately sprung to the sky sounding with his warmth the beginning of spring.
Our hero died, his blood mixing with the snow. As a token of gratitude for his act of bravery we braid a red and white string and offer it to our loved ones. Red is for love and white for health and purity.
Legend aside, this celebration is one of the oldest in the country and comes straight from our ancestors, the Dacians (so it’s very much a pagan tradition). They painted pebbles in red and white and bound them with a wool string. This talisman was believed to bring luck and they would wear it until the trees were in bloom.
Today we still keep this tradition only that the pebbles turned into a long variety of talismans from brooches, to cartoon characters and handmade flowers.
It’s women and girls that usually receive mărțișoare from men. We wear them either pined to our chest as a brooch or, if we prefer only the red&white string, then tied around the wrist. The preferred talismans are snowdrops or little chimney sweepers because they are bringers of luck.
So…if you are in Bucharest for Mărțișor do take advantage and get your own spring talisman from one of the many flea markets in the city.
The easiest to find are the ones in the passage way at the Universitate metro station or in Romană Square.
Mărțișor Fair in the passageway at Universitate metro station
Otherwise the city is full of Mărțișor fairs. I selected a few that are around the city center:
Târgul Mărțișorului Handmade (handmade Mărțișor fair) at George Enescu Museum aka Cantacuzino Palace in Bucharest which is one the most beautiful palaces in the city. Address: Calea Victoriei nr. 141, look for the house with lions at the entrance. 27 February-1 March
Târgul de mărțișor si de 8 martie: Vive la femme!- Mărțișor and Womens Day fair at Excelsior Gallery, Toma Caragiu nr. 3 , just behind Șuțu Palace (Universitate area). 27 February-8 March 2015
Halluci Dark Market-The Murdishor: I have no idea what this is but sounds intriguing enough so I'm sure to check it out. Covaci str. Nr.6, 1st floor at the Absintheria Sixtina (in the old city center), 27th of February to 1st of March
This might be an interesting event if you want to immerse a bit in our culture:
A week after the Mărțișor, on the 8th of March, we celebrate Women’s and Mother’s Day altogether. Yes, it’s a great time to be a woman in Romania! Men usually hate this pairing Mărțișor + Women’s Day and if you add it to Valentine’s Day and Dragobete (Romanian traditional lovers’ day that is on the 24th of February) they see it like a wallet sucking vortex from hell.
But for us, the 8th of March means that Bucharest is raging with all sorts and types of having fun: special deals, events, parties, concerts, striptease shows. You just need to pick one that suits you.
Moda pe Indelete Spring Fair-clothes and accessories fair, 7-8 March, Dianei str. no. 4 Rosetti Square , between 11:00 and 18:00, *the money raised from the sale of the things with the pink ribbon are donated 100% to the 'Stop breast cancer' campaign by Avon Space.
Ladies ONLY at Beraria H (the biggest beer house in SE Europe), 8th of March, tickets: 70 lei, there will be a concert and a male striptease show, basically a lot of hunks.
On top of Mărțișor and Mother’s Day (don’t get scared just yet), between the 1st of March and the 9th of March we celebrate ‘Babele’ (trans. Old women). These 9 days are believed to be the most moody days of the year as they represent the conflict between old and new, cold and warm. This is why we can have a perfect sunny spring day and the next a full blown winter blizzard.
Traditionally, we pick our own babă (trans. Old woman) and depending on how the weather is going to be that respective day, that’s how our year will be. So if your babă is sunny and warm, good times await you, if it’s gloomy and dark then…sorry, better luck next year. If it rains or snows on your babă, then you’re in for some money the year to come.
How to pick your babă? Well, either choose a random day between the 1st and the 9th of March or use a very scientific method based on your date of birth. If you are born between the 1st and the 9th of any month then you pick the day of your birthday: birthday is the 5th of July, babă is the 5th of March. If your birthday is a double digit, let’s say the 13th then 1+3=4. Your babă is the 4th of March.
I have to confess that I cheat a bit and choose my babă after I check the weather forecast. I mean, who wants to have a crappy year?
Bottom line for March: buy Mărțișor, celebrate Women’s Day and pick (wisely) a babă.
The rest of the month is not particularly eventful besides the fact that Bucharest in spring is uber awesome. (not if you suffer from hay fever, though).
Other non-related things to do in March in Bucharest:
Gitano, Joaquin Cortes concert, 15th of March 2015, Sala Palatului, tickets: 25/125 or 175 and can be bought online via www.eventim.ro or from one of the following shops: Germanos, Vodafone, Orange, Domo, Humanitas or Carturesti bookstores
David Bisbal concert, 18th of March, Sala Palatului, tickets between 80 and 396 lei and can be bought from www.ticketnet.ro or directly from Sala Palatului.
Welcome Spring Fashion Fair- clothes from Romanian designers, 20-22 March 2015, Excelsior Gallery, Toma Caragiu nr. 3 , just behind Șuțu Palace (Universitate area)
Festivalul Pescaresc (Piscatorial Fair)-for all the fish lovers out there, Bucharest is hosting a festival in your honor between the 20th and 25th of March at the National Arena (Basarabia Blvd). We are promised the biggest clam soup in the world. Free entrance.
World Wide Instameet Bucharest- If you are an instagramer you know what WWI is and that it takes place everywhere in the world on the 21st of March. In Bucharest we meet at precisely 13:00 in front of the National Theater opposed to the University. Be there or be square!
Spring Silent Disco Partythis is going to be one weird and funny party. Location: Colectiv, Tabacarilor str. no.7, free entrance.