Happy Baba Marta!

Happy Baba Marta!

Happy Baba Marta!

On 1 March every year, Bulgarians celebrate the traditional beginning of spring with the arrival of the mythical Baba Marta (“Granny March”). The unpredictable sister of January and Fabruary, Baba Marta is honoured by the wearing of martenitsa (мартеница), an adornment of red and white wool threads.

On the first day of March, all Bulgarians gift their friends and relatives a martenitsa to wish each other health and prosperity. Baba Marta is an ancient pre-Christian tradition that goes back thousands of years and is perhaps linked to early Balkan farming rituals.

Typically, a martenitsa is worn until one sees a blossoming tree or a migratory bird coming back from the south for the first time. Then, it is lain under a stone or more often hanged on a tree, which makes for an unforgettable sight in parks and forests all over Bulgaria!

Kashkaval tourist wishes a happy Baba Marta to everyone!

Happy first day of spring!

Yesterday, 20 March, was the day of the March equinox and the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Prompted by the warm and sunny weather we’ve had these days, trees are blooming all over Bulgaria. And according to an ancient custom, Bulgarians are tying the red-and-white yarn adornments they gave to each other on 1 March to the branches of the first blooming tree they see.

The unmistakable red-and-white items are called martenitsi (singular мартеница, martenitsa) and are an important part of Bulgarian identity… though few Bulgarians are aware that similar customs are part of the traditions of Romania, Macedonia and other places in our region too.