Happy First of March! Tuesday, 01 Mar 2011 - Ethnographical Museum[img right]uploads/images/misc/martenitsa.jpg[/img][justify]First of March marks the beginning of the spring-summer season. This holiday is also called "Marta", "Martichka", "Gadalushka", "Kichilka.
Today matenitsa is a symbol of our faith in the renewal power of spring, our hope for more prosperity and fertility. In the past it was believed that the martenitsas on one hand could protect people from disasters, diseases and misfortune as they "drive away the evil", on the other hand bring health, success and happiness.
Even today they are made from white and red treads: White colour symbolizes innocence, spiritual purity and longevity;
and the Red colour - the fire, blood and life itself.[/justify][shrink]
To the traditional martenitsa can be added coins, iron rings, garlic, beads and more.
Martenitsas can be carried not only humans but also pets, livestock, fruit trees, this is connected with the belief that these garments bring fertility. According to the custom, the martenitsa has to stay on until a stork, a swallow or a blossomed fruit tree has been spotted. Then the martenitsa is taken off and put under a stone. Nine days later underneath the stone can be checked. If there are ants, the year will be rich in sheep, the presence of any larger bugs would suggest great fertility of cattle; if there are worms – the horses will be breading well.
From the found under stones, the girls predict whether they will marry and who will be their groom.
To make “Grandmother Marta” cheerful and smiling and to have nice warm weather, in the morning of First March, the young girls had to come out on the village’s yards and roads. Older women and grandmothers should not go out, so they don not meet Grandma Marta and make her angry, else the month shall be bad.
[url=index.php?tab=ethno&lang=[curlang]&page=encyc&enc=rituals&eid=54]Learn more about the Bulgarian tradition Martenitsa[/url]