Members of the Nephi City Council were presented with Moldavian Martsishor - seasonal Soviet trinkets - and plaques recently as thanks for the $1,000 donation the city gave to six Soviet students to help them travel to Nephi to participate in a student exchange program with Juab High School.
In return, Nephi officials presented the students with caps sporting the Nephi City logo.The students explained that Martsishors are given as symbols of friendship and love each spring. The trinkets are worn in Moldavia from March 1st through spring.
Helen Graninia, who is serving as guide for the students, and Alla Kishinev, assistant principal from the Lyceum school in Moldavia - which is the sister school of Juab High - told the councilmen the red and white flowers and tassels are part of folklore.
According to legend, the sun descended to villages as a handsome man to dance at village weddings and celebrations, only to be ambushed and jailed by a dragon. The world grieved.
A brave man decided to free him. The man walked a summer, autumn and winter before he found the dragon's castle. A horrible battle ensued and the cruel dragon was killed but the brave man was mortally wounded.
Nevertheless, the sun was freed. He sprang to the sky and the world revived. The blood of the brave man fell upon the flowers just waking up - snowdrops and daffodils. Since that time all the girls knit two tassels - a red and a white one - as a sign of spring.
Red stands for love, beauty and blood; white for purity, happiness and health.