The Greek spring tradition of ‘Marti’ sees many adults and children in Greece creating small bracelets of red and white thread which they wear throughout the month.
According to the tradition, the thread protects people from diseases and the rays of the sun, particularly strong in Greece during the month of March. Children wear the bracelets until they break and then throw them on rose bushes for swallows to build their nests. Others tie their bracelets on trees so that these bear fruit.
The origins of the tradition date back to ancient times, when people participating in the Eleusian Mysteries wore a thread named ‘Kroki’ around their right hand and left foot.
The bracelet meant protection from the wearer at a time when dark skin signified impurity, and where beauty standards required fair skin and rosy cheeks.