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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Martisor and Zolnierze Wykleci Day

Good morning sunshine! Good morning lovely month of March!

Today it's an odd day to celebrate, for me, as I love both Polish and Romanian customs and on this day, the 1st of March, two different types of events are remembered in my two homelands. Poland celebrates today the "Zolnierze wykleci" (the translation would be "The National Doomed Soldiers Memorial Day") which is a sad rememberance; yet Romania celebrates a very positive and festive "Martisor" day - as the first day of spring, where we wear the symbol of red-white on our chests, for good luck :) I guess it's a yin & yang day for me... celebrating both, so let me tell you a bit more about it.
"The National Doomed Soldiers Memorial Day ought to be an expression of our gratitude for their bravery, their steadfast patriotism, and their unwavering dedication to our traditions. It ought to be an expression of our gratitude for the blood they shed in the defense of our Nation."
+++ Lech Aleksander Kaczynski, President of the Republic of Poland +++

The date of this Polish national holiday coincides with March 1, 1951, that is the day on which officers of the last, IV Executive Office of the Association of Freedom and Independence [Pol. Wolnosc i Niezawislosc, abr. WiN], were murdered by the Communists; among them, their commanding officer, Lt. Colonel Lukasz Cieplinski, nom de guerre “Plug”.

The 'cursed (or doomed) soldiers' (Polish: Zolnierze wykleci) is a name applied to a variety of Polish resistance movements that were formed in the later stages of World War II and afterwards. Created by former members of the Polish underground resistance organizations of WWII, these organizations continued the struggle against the pro-Soviet government of Poland well into the 1950s. Most of these groups ceased operations in the late 1940s or 1950s. However, the last 'cursed soldier', Jozef Franczak (Nickname: Lalus), was killed in an ambush as late as 1963, almost 20 years after the Soviet take-over of Poland.

The term “Doomed Soldiers” was first used in 1993 to describe the soldiers of the armed democratic resistance who fought the Communist regime from the mid - 1940’s into the 1950’s. This term dedicated to the soldiers of the anti-communist underground was particularly well-suited to show the process by which the heroism and memory of these men and women were both excluded and doomed to disappear from our history, and our national psyche.The term “Doomed Soldiers” is also an indictment against the media elites of the III Republic of Poland; an indictment for their conscientious omission, and elimination of this dramatic and heroic chapter of our history - an indictment for amputating history, written in blood and suffering by those who fought and died for [Poland’s] freedom.

The "Martisor" day celebrated by Romanian people as being 100% traditional Romanian custom (although Bulgaria has a very much similar tradition) is a very positive and up-beat celebration of life. "Martisor" is called the intertwined pieces of string: white - for purity and the snow that is melting away, letting spring come + red - the blood flow and nature coming to life. We wear and give "martisoare" to the ones we love and most if the times they are also combined with small representations of good luck (the 4-leaf clover, the chimney sweeper and the first flower of spring - in Romania it is called "ghiocel"). The tradition is that you should wear the "Martisor" from the 1st of March till the last day of the month, when at evening time you should take it off and place it in a blossomed tree and make a wish. It will always come true ;) 
That is a custom I dearly brought with me to Poland and both Marek and my dear close friends know about it. The wishes never fail ;) and I have a Polish friend (who tried this with me one year) that can vouch to that ;) We celebrate in Romania quite a lot in March, as that is when we consider that spring comes (staring with the Dragobete love festival, in late February). We give "martisoare" and flowers and gifts all between 1st and 8th of March (women's day) so I believe March is one of the most festive months of the year :) Have you ever been in Poland or Romania around 1st of March? Can you tell us your story? Have you ever got a "Martisor" as a gift? Did you wear it the full month and make a wish? Do tell! :)

Yours sincerely, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves rememberance - yin & yang

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