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When one thinks of the month of March, the arrival of the much-awaited spring immediately comes to mind. Enough is enough, am I right? My skin was oh! so tired of the withering below-zero temperatures and my hair was just about to call it quits on me, tired of being hidden under hats and hoods.

So tomorrow is March 1st, you say? The weather outside is actually becoming bearable and my thoughts are running amok in my head – dresses, skirts, oxfords, platform sandals, flowers, pink, yellow and white tulips, warmth, the sun!! Yes, all you lovely folks, tomorrow is March 1st and, according to tradition, we celebrate the beginning of spring by wearing mărţişoare. We pin these small tokens on our clothes right above our hearts. The red and white strings are symbolic: red for nature’s newly found vitality and white for the purity of this novel world just being born. We wear these to ward off misfortunes and to bring good luck into our lives.

Now, if you know a little bit about Romanian culture, you might have already been aware of all that. But even so, 2012 brings a unique take on the tradition. Why is that, you ask? Well, for the simple fact that it is a leap year. While normally boys give mărţişoare to girls they hold dear on March 1st, leap years turn the tables – boys are the ones who receive mărţişoare. In return, on March 8th, they will offer small presents to the girls who have rewarded them with the good luck charms.

So tomorrow, girls, don’t forget to show the boys you care, by bringing them a little four-leaf clover on a red and white string.