Why are people selling red and white threads?

Spring celebration in Bulgaria

Have you by any chance noticed that shops in Bulgaria are selling these strange red and white threads? If this is confusing for you, don't worry, it's all part of Bulgaria's spring celebration known as Baba Marta (in Bulgarian "Grandma March"). This tradition which features elements from old Bulgarian beliefs is connected with the coming of spring and the passing of winter. The celebration starts on the 1st March when people start wearing different threads and bracelets around their wrists or small red and white dolls close to their heart. They have a special name - martenitsi, and come in different shapes: bracelets with Batman or any other superhero (for the small children, for instance) or small beads, a bracelet with small inscriptions (for your loved ones), or the regular wool dolls Pizho and Penda. People continue to wear them until they see a stork or if that takes too long - a blossomed fruit tree. Then they tie it on a tree branch for its health or put it under a stone. All these little trinkets are worn for good luck, health and a good spring to come. Martenitsi are never bought for yourself, they are a gift for your loved ones.

If you're a student in Bulgaria we totally recommend buying a martenitsa for you and your friends so you can enjoy Bulgarian traditions to their fullest!


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