Baba Marta Grandma MartaTraditional Bulgarian Holiday
On the 1st of March Bulgarian people celebrate a traditional holiday calledBaba Marta (or Grandma Marta in English) and it is related to welcoming theapproaching spring. On that day, we exchange, so called "Martenitsi" and tell each other,"Chestita Baba Marta!" (Happy Grandma Marta!). This custom is essentiallyto wish great health, good luck, and happiness to family and friends.
Who’s Baba Marta? In Bulgarian folklore Baba Marta is a grumpy old woman who changesher mood very rapidly and it reflects in the changeable March weather.When she is smiling the weather is sunny and warm, but if she getsangry the cold will stay for longer and it may even snow. By wearingthe red and white colors of the Martenitsa our predecessors askedBaba Marta for mercy. They hoped that it will make winter pass fasterand bring spring.
The Martenitsa is made of twined red and white threads - woolen, silk,or cotton. The white is a symbol of strength, purity and happiness. Thered is associated with health, blood and fertility.
The most typical Martenitsa represents two small wool dolls - Pizho andPenda. Pizho is the male doll, usually dominating in white color. Pendais the female doll, usually dominating in red color . Out of twined red and white threads are also made bracelets,necklaces, tassels, pompons, balls, squares, human or animal figures.
When someone gives you aMartenitsa you should wear iteither pinned on your clothes, onthe hand tied around the wrist, oraround your neck until you see astork, or a fruit tree in blossom forthe first time in the season. After that you can tie it on a blossoming tree for fertility. It is believed that the Martenitsa bring health, happiness and longevity.
Like kind of amulet, Martenitsa was attributed a magic powerbelieved to protect folks from "ill fortune", diseases and an evileye.