Happy Baba Marta Day!
Честита Баба Марта!
Hey everyone! Today is March 1st and in Bulgaria, that means it’s “Baba Marta Day” which is also known for recognizing the coming of Spring. Finally! It seems like this winter season is never ending! Today, the weather was definitely showing that Spring is coming because it was 17 °C (63 °F)! So without further ado, I would like to wish you all a Happy Baba Marta Day or in Bulgarian: “Честита Баба Марта!”
What Is Baba Marta Day?
During this holiday, it is known for people to exchange “Martenitsi” (Мартеници) in red and white colors. They are bracelets made out of yarn and the white color generally symbolizes the winter season and its purity while the red is for the coming of spring and warm weather (it is said to also make bad spirits go away).
The last few weeks of February is when you will start seeing tables and booths being set up everywhere – the markets, streets, city centers, grocery stores, and even the malls – selling Martenitsi. They are pretty cheap and range in price from about 0.50 stotinki ($0.30) – 4lv ($2.30) depending on how fancy you want to get with it.
The Baba Marta Tradition
When you give someone a Martinitsa, you are wishing them health, strength, peace, and luck. The tradition goes that you wear them until you see a stork (a sign that spring is indeed coming and Baba Marta is happy) OR a tree that is blossoming (in this case you hang it on a tree).
There are a few different traditions and myths that surround this holiday and Baba Marta, but these are some of the ones that I have grown up with.
Celebrating Baba Marta Day in America
Since I grew up in America where this holiday was not popular, let alone known, we usually celebrated it solely within our family. Since I was young I remember always looking for the box of Martenitsi that was ALWAYS filled with a bunch of different ones. To this day, I am not even sure how we had so many and who decided to bring that many over when they came back from a trip to Bulgaria. However, it is nice to know that my parents did everything they could to teach us true Bulgarian traditions, no matter where we were!
Aside from going to work and exchanging Martenitsi with colleagues and friends, I spent my day getting ready for my weekend trip that I will be taking with some of my friends. There are some more Bulgarian holidays and some traveling experiences coming your way next week! Make sure that you stay tuned!
Once more, I wish you all a Happy Baba Marta! Честита Баба Марта на всички!