The article draws attention to the custom of Mărţişor, as it was practiced in the eastern reaches of Romanian culture, between Rivers Prut and Nistru, during the 20th Century. The contemporary celebration of Mărţişor is much reduced in comparison to its historical form, and has acquired different functions and meanings. The paper reconstructs and analyzes the full set of practices associated with Mărţişor in the past. The Mărţişor is treated as a symbol with multiple social and cosmological functions. Similar ritual practices are found at many populations in southeast Europe, including the Romanians, the Bulgarians, the Macedonians, the Greeks, and the Albanians. Electronic resources also indicate new tendencies to develop the Mărţişor as a symbol of ethnic identity. The role of traditional and modern institutions in perpetuating this tradition is also investigated in this paper.