Martaki: Greek Spring in Red & White

Greece is an ancient country, and with that antiquity also come many traditions and rituals. And it is that Greece does not lack any of those things. With more than 5,000 years of history it would be almost strange that there was not some curious spring tradition. Well of course there are, and that is saying something. The months before and after Greek Easter are filled with multiple functions, holidays, saints, and more. Among them there is a little known sartorial tradition. The ‘martaki’. A bracelet made of white and red thread that is worn in those days.


So what is ‘martaki’ and where does it come from? To begin with, the word martaki, comes from the word Martis, which is the month of March, that is, a ‘marchy. This red and white string bracelet is worn on the first day of spring, that is, March 1, and means several things. For example, red means vitality, love, triumph and courage, while white means purity, innocence, joy and life. Superstition says that these colors show rosy cheeks and white skin.


In ancient times, having black skin after hours of tanning did not look good, and having a pale complex was seen as a symbol of beauty, therefore one can see how this tradition developed. Well, it was so that the girls’ faces wouldn’t get burned. A saying that the grandmother would say translates to “If you have a beautiful daughter, don’t let the March sun see her.” The bracelet was removed on the last day of March and hung in a bush of roses. That is supposed to add a rosier complex to the girls’ cheeks. Even though this tradition began as something focused on the feminine, over the years it became unisex.

Martaki: Greek Spring in Red & White

Now, everyone wears it, and there really are some stylish bracelets that look pretty good, even year-round. Actually, all over Greece, this tradition has many variations in its application and its tradition, but wherever you are in March, don’t forget to wear a ‘marchy’, for good luck.

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