It is uncertain when the custom of the traditional trinkets („mărțișoare” in the local language) have started, however, it seems to have been around on the Romanian land since ancient times, and starting with 2017 this tradition has been included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Negreşti-Oaş Town Hall and Negreşti-Oaș Local Council, through the Negreşti-Oaş Town Hall of Culture, in collaboration with the educational institutions, the Oaș Land Museum, the Negreşti-Oaş National Center for Tourism Information and Promotion and local NGOs organize annually, starting with 2013, the Traditional Trinket („mărțișorului”) Fair. The fair is held in the center of the town for two days and closes on March 1st.
The purpose of the event is to identify, stimulate and capitalize the artistic potential of children through the making of original artistic creations. The goals of the project are to stimulate creativity and to develop communication skills through artistic language, to identify and translate into artistic products (trinkets or „mărțișoare”, cards) some traditional Romanian art elements and to identify their own artistic values and those of their community.
During classes or extracurricular activities, under the careful guidance of their coordinating teachers, school children and preschoolers from Negrești-Oaș make traditional trinkets and cards, using different working techniques and various materials, trying to preserve the specifics of the folk art in the Oaș Land. The money earned from the sales is to be used by pupils or preschools for other cultural and volunteering activities.
The mayor of Negreşti-Oaş, Aurelia Fedorca, says that the purpose of organizing this fair is to involve the locals, especially young people, in the life of the community and to rise awareness on the importance of traditional art, the project enjoying great success so far.