Every year on 1st March Bulgarian people celebrate one of their favorite customs, which is called Baba Marta. Baba is the word for grandmother and Marta is for the name of the month.
On this day we exchange small adornments made of woven white and red threads. For us these colors symbolize purity (white) and life (red) According to our traditional beliefs the red color has defensive power and it can protect us from evil.
As March is the first month of spring we celebrate the resurrection of life after winter and we wish each other to be healthy and successful.
This custom goes back to the ages of the establishment of our country and before Bulgaria to be converted into Christianity.
One of the legends of the martenisa says that while the first Bulgarian ruler, khan Asparuh was on the battlefield his sister Huba sent him a message, tied with a white thread to a leg of a swallow. But enemy’s arrow pierced the wing of the bird and its blood stained the white thread.
We wear martenitsas as bracelets, necklaces or just attached to the clothes near the heart.
The tradition says to keep your martenitsa till you see a stork or a swallow. Then you have to tie it to a budding tree or to put it under a rock. You can make predictions for the crops of the year depending on what kind of insect is under the rock on the following day.