UPDATE: So, sis just informed me that my decade plus one in London has muddled my memory (like I didn't know that already!) and that the traditional colour combo is red and white, with a thread of gold often thrown in, and that the saying goes that we wear these to 'stop us from getting burned by the sun', which may sound crazy but I take it to refer to the first strong sunshine of the year that should naturally appear just about now although this is London sis, and no such sunshine has shown its pretty little face yet so I'm sticking to my initial interpretation. But thanks!
Sis reminded me over the phone the other day so I swiftly unearthed T's sewing box, sat on the floor with all the brightly coloured rolls of thread in front of me and attempted to overcome my DIY incompetence. My goal? To make myself a martis, of course! A what-what? Martis is Greek for March - you already knew that, right? - but also refers to an old, little tradition of wearing a simple red thread on your wrist as a bracelet, or martis, to protect you all through the month. On the 1st of April, you cut it off and burn it. I'm not quite sure as to what it is meant to protect us from but my guess is the elements, the end of cruel winter, ensuring that we make it to spring healthy and ready to be replenished. I find it extraordinarily intriguing that old spiritual disciplines like the Kabbalah also place significant value on a simple red thread. What's not to cherish? We've been following this all through our childhoods as I'm certain so did my mother and grandmother and so do our little cousins now but since moving to London it's escaped my mind.
I initially thought of wearing this, a small gift from a festival by my little cousin but then remembered I would have to burn it and instantly changed my mind.
All you need, traditionally, is a red thread but often a gold one will find its way in, to brighten things up and make it more precious. I considered using a green one for spring or light blue as a wish for a bright summer sky but decided to keep it simple. I attempted a braid but instead twisted the red and gold together, tied it slightly loose and left it at that. Sometimes, the simpler something is the better, no?
So, here's to spring and sunshine and better days. Thanks for the reminder, sis!