The March bracelet of the Greeks
The March bracelet is an old custom, with its roots located in the Balkans. It is believed to have originated in Ancient Greece and more specifically during the Eleusinian Mysteries, where the initiated used to tie a thread around their right hand and left foot, called Kroki.
According to tradition, on the 1st day of March, mothers out around their children’s wrist a bracelet made of red and white thread, hence the name “March bracelet”, so that it can protect them from the first sun of the spring, which is considered particularly harmful by old superstitions.
It is made on the last day of February and worn on the 1st day of March, before leaving the house. In some regions, the bracelet is worn on the big toe like a ring, to prevent its wearer from tripping.
The bracelet is removed at the end of the month. Alternatively it is either left on roses, when the first swallow arrives, so that it can be used as a basis for a bird nest or it is burnt with the Holy Fire of the Orthodox Easter.
The Christian Church, as told by John Chrysostom, considers the tradition to be pagan ever since the 5th century.
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