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An Old Bulgarian Tradition – The Martenitsa

Martenitsa is a small piece of adornment, made of white and red yarn and worn from March 1 until the appearance of the first blooming tree or the first stork. This custom is considered unique Bulgarian tradition. Bulgarians celebrate every year on March 1 – holiday of Baba Marta. The wearing of Martenitsa are a Bulgarian tradition related to welcoming the spring, which according to Bulgarian tradition begins in March. The white color is symbol of purity, innocence and joy. The red one is the color of vitality, health and love, victory, life.

When l was in Turkey, although I heard Martenitsa before from my Bulgarian – Turkish friends, I didn’t know much about it. Thanks to this event, l learned how l can make a martanitsa. Also, l had informations about the history of tradition and also l enjoyed very much.

We organized a workshop about making martenitsa in the office of Radio E-volution in Sliven. Also, we had a wonderful teacher who is Dora Pondalova. She teached that how can we make a martenitsa. Besides, we had so many special people who come to our workshop from Sliven with their director Nina Nakova. They are from retirement home in Sliven (дом стари хора сливен). They are very hardworking and friendly people and we had very good time together. I am so glad to spend time with these amazing women. So, we learned how can we make bracelets, necklaces, Piju, Penda and amulet with white and red yarns together thanks to Dora and also we learned so many information about this special tradition. For example, we learned that actually, most of Balkan countries has martenitsa but they has different traditional features. There are many interesting customs and traditions related to Bulgarian martenitsa that I learned Bulgarian people in Bulgaria. Also, martenitsa are always given as gifts, not bought for oneself. So, you can buy it as a gift to your family and friends so you can have it from this way. Likewise, in Bulgaria, people are throwing red fabric on one of the fruit trees (generally grape bunches in Sliven) in the garden, that’s meaning is ‘’ to laugh Baba Marta. ‘’ Besides, they are making small dolls from wool as Pijo and Penda. They are saying that Pijo is a girl and Penda is a boy. Pijo who is the male doll, is usually white. Penda is the female doll, is distinguished by her skirt and is usually red. They are typical Bulgarian martenitsa too. Moreover, I learned that martenitsa are worn from Baba Marta Day (March 1) until the wearer first sees a stork, swallow, or blossoming tree.

I already started wearing martensia that I made and l hope martenitsa can gives health and luck to everyone.

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