Saturday, 1 March 2008

MARTISOR and MAMMALIGA


First Day of March,, brings in a lot of fond memories from the days I lived in Romania. this particular is celebrated as Martisor , (literally meaning little march).I was surprised the first year seeing all girls wearing red and white threads with some amulets on their wrists.

By the second year of our stay there I had enough friends to tell me what that festival was all about and by the help of my girls who learnt about it in schools and came home with loads of Martisor, some of them I have till date and will cherish them all my life .It reminds me the warmth and love i got from Romania. ..

Martisor is a traditional Romanian celebration of the coming of spring. It is celebrated on the March 1st of every year.Women are given flowers, particularly GHIOCEL, a beautiful white flower which as though on cue just sprouts all over the place out of the snow by 1st of March.

A Ghiocel
Romanians have a beautiful ancient tradition on the first day of March : Martisor (The Amulet). Its name is a diminutive from the name of Martie - the Romanian word for March. There is a similarity between Martie and the ancient Roman God "Mars" or "Martie" in Latin language.In ancient Rome this God was a symbol of revival, green fields, flocks and love. They used to celebrate their God on the first day of spring.

MARTISOR is also the name of a trinket, amulet kind object consisting of a small decoration tied to a white and red string, symbolizing the coming of spring.




Nowadays "Martisor" is present in all Romanian regions . In Romania this Amulet is a symbol of coming spring and joy. Exchanging them is a gesture of love, friendship, respect and appreciation. You can buy silky red-white threads (tied into a bow) and small plastic objects : flowers, horse shoes, leaves, bumblebees, animals, birds, tiny suns or stars, red hearts, and many others. People wear it in the left side on their chests, traditionally these amulets are worn during nine days, starting from March 1st, of course. But it has predominantly taken the role of showing love.My girls were so pleased to get and it became actually a competion who had more of these Martisor than the other....Traditions sadly fading away off...

The Martisor was also worn by young men and adults. Moreover, the braid which announced the spring was tied on the horns of the cows or on the gate of the stable, in order to protect the household from the evil. In older times, March 1st was the beginning of a new year,even now it is mostly welcomed with the same warmth and spirit, and it is seen as a moment in which people needed to protect themselves from the evil spirits.

The Martisor is worn until the roses or the cherries bloom. Then, the braid is tied on one of the branches of that tree. In other regions, the Martisor is worn during the old women's days (March 1st to March 9th), after this being tied on a tree. It is believed that, if the tree gives fruits, the man who has worn the Martisor will be lucky. If the Martisor is thrown after a bird, the man will be as easy as that bird.

As any traditional festive can have this Martisor also has its share of legends and history of origin.. here they go you can see them in this link...

(
http://www.folkromania.com/cms/articles/traditional_celebrations/march)
I had tried a dish called Mamaliga on a Martisor celebration ,taste of which I will never forget.. though it is an acquired taste I am so sure many of you will like this dish made out of corn.What better way to celebrate this in my own way by cooking a dish and reliving the lovely days.
Mamaliga is basically cornmeal mush.. fairly simple to prepare it is delicious with butter, sour cream and some fried onions. As my memory is tingled with this traditional dish, I am sharing this recipe...mostly out of love to my friends in Romania...


Mamaliga with butter and fried onions



Ingredients:
1 cup cornmeal (known widely as polenta/corn grits)
4 cups of water
salt to taste

To garnish

Fried onions
Sauteed beans
Method
Mix one cup of corn meal with one and half cups of cold water and set aside for 10 minutes . Take care while mixing that it does not form lumps.
In a large pan heat 3 cups of water till it comes to a hard boil. Now slowly add the soaked softened corn meal while stirring the water.take care that it doesn't form lumps here either. Keep stirring till the corn meal gets thicker and thicker.
The consistency can be to our liking ( I like it a little soggy ).cover the dish and let it cook for 5 more minutes.
Traditionally it is served with sourcream and friedonions. since it did not suit my palate I use butter and some fried onions and sauteed frenchbeans...
In a pan heat some oil and fry onions(chopped length wise)

Serve hot with butter/sour cream and fried onions. I served with some sauteed beans and sometimes with a bowl of french fries...
Hoping you liked this too...
Ciao

3 comments:

Barthur said...

Thnq! Sam Rao....
rgds...
Sangeetha

Shubha said...

Nice to see you sangeeta..thanks...

Deepa said...

Hmmmm This recipe looks interesting. will try it out soon:-) Thanks Shubha..