One of the most heart touching traditions is Baba Marta Day celebrated in Bulgaria as the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Every year Bulgarians exchange martenitsi (red-and-white adornments) on the first of March and celebrate each other with the words: Chestita Baba Marta (Happy Baba Marta)!
First of March is also Imen den (Day of name) of all who are named Martha, Martin, Martina and Eudokia. Imen Den celebration is rooted in the Christian traditions, as a joyful and friends-connecting feast as the Birthday.
Who is Baba Marta?
About Baba Marta etymology: Bulgarians name the old women “babi”. Grandmother is also in Bulgarian “baba”. Marta is rooted in the month of March. Baba Marta is imagined as a moody old woman. The sun shines when she is happy, and her anger brings cold storms. She is a human picture of unpredictable March weather. March storms are sometimes described as Baba Marta’s spring cleaning, and the last snowfall comes from falling feathers when she shakes out her mattresses.
Legends have grown around the holiday tradition. Perhaps the oldest describes the origin of the custom found in a kindness by Khan Asparuh, the founder of the first Bulgarian state, who is said to have sent his wife a white cord as a sign of having survived in battle.
Another tale describes how Baba Marta, angry at an old woman taking her goats into the mountains a few days early, brought on a fierce storm that raged for days. Later, when the townsfolk went out in search of the old woman, they found her turned into stone, with a freshwater spring running out from under her feet.
Baba Marta Today!
Leading up to the day, street corners are filled with fold up tables and upright displays of red and white decorations. The most common motif is a pair of figures, a man and a woman called Pizho and Penda, but there are martenitsi in all shapes and sizes. Larger sizes are used to adorn tables and doors, and different forms can be worn as bracelets, necklaces or pins. There is great fun to be had in finding just the right martinitsa for a friend.
You can read more about this special Bulgarian tradition at Wikipedia!
Video Tutorial: How to make a basic adjustable martenitsa bracelet click here!