Happy Baba Marta Day! Today I received wishes of health and good luck and a wristful of bracelets, photographed the decoration of a tree in the center, chatted about holidays in English class, and had a lovely dinner with the folk singing group. Bulgarians celebrate Baba Marta (Grandma March) Day on March 1st. The holiday marks the transition between spring and winter. Finally, winter is ending, spring is beginning. It was explained to me as a woman’s month, unpredictable and varied, like she’s experiences the ‘changes.’
On Baba Marta Day friends and colleagues exchange martenitsi—charms and bracelets made from red and white thread. Martinitsi are worn around wrists, pinned on clothes, pets, etc. until the first sign of spring-either a stork or a blooming tree. This means the wait is over, spring is here, and you can tie the martenitsa to something nearby, usually a tree. Everyone participates: men, women, children, adults, professionals, homemakers – no difference martenitsi are everywhere. However, Tsetska informed I would look silly if I wore all of them and should choose one or two. Advice taken.
Martenitsi are made from red and white thread. They are meant to be worn until you see a stork, a sign of the coming of spring, then they are tied on nearby tree. For the holiday, a presentation was planned at the school, but another flu vacation cancelled it. Instead, a small group of students gathered in front of the cultural center and tied decorated a tree. All day everyone exchanged martinitsis-at work, school, during English class, at dinner with the folk singing group. By the time I returned home, late after dinner with the ladies, I had bracelets on half my arm, plus necklaces, pins, and this awesome broom witch. There are different stories about Baba Marta, but one that I like is that the month of March is unpredictable, sometimes warm and pleasant, other times cold and stormy-like an old woman.