The “Martinki” custom has been practiced since ancient times in many parts of the Balkans, mostly in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova, but also in Albania and Greece too. On this day typical red and white tassels, pom-poms or knit (braided) bracelets are exchanged, given to loved ones and they are worn pinned on clothing or tied on the wrist. The hand-made amulets are known by many names as: Martinka (Мартинка in Macedonia), Mártenitsa (Мартеница in Bulgaria), Mărţişor (in Romania and Moldova), Μάρτης (in Greece), Verorja (in Albania) and they are associated with the beginning of the spring, when this small artifacts made of red and white woolen thread containing a message with good and positive feelings and expectations, is given to the loved ones. People wear them until the nature starts to bloom and then hang them on trees.
Since 2013, the custom associated with this amulets was proposed to be protected as intangible cultural heritage with the multinational application to UNESCO, in which the Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldavia took part.
The little bracelets called “Martinki” that are made out of red and white thread and comprise part of the Macedonian cultural tradition associated with the 1st of March (the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere) were in 2017 listed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This impressive group success of Macedonia, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria, was possible on Macedonian side thanks to the efforts invested by HAEMUS, aa non- for- profit organisation dedicated to scientific research and promotion of Macedonian cultural heritage.
In 2021 we are proceeding with our aim to promote and to protect “Martinki” as an intangible cultural heritage that belongs to the whole world.