Today is a special day in Bulgaria and even though I’ve lived in the US for the last 13+ years, I still get excited about Martenitzas every year. Martenitzas are a beloved symbol of spring and health and Bulgarians give them to their friends and family on March 1 wishing the recipient good health. They are made of white and red yarn and can be pinned to your clothes or worn as a necklace or a bracelet. You are supposed to wear them until you see evidence that spring has arrived, which in Bulgaria could be a stork , a swallow (both migratory birds that fly South for the winter and come back each spring) or a tree in bloom. Here’s what Martenitzas look like, in case you were wondering.
You can make your own Martenitzas or buy them from any of the zillion stands that sell a myriad of Martenitza designs in Bulgaria this time of the year. If you happen to be in Bulgaria on March 1, you will see that everyone wears Martenitzas, young or old, male or female. I always thought it was a very optimistic, uplifting tradition and have been honoring it from afar for years.
So, last night we made some Martenitzas for our family and proudly donned them on each of us this morning. Here’s a picture, which wasn’t easy to take because the littlest member of the family was especially wiggly:
Wishing you lots of health and hoping spring will be here real soon!
More information on Martenitzas (or Martenitsas, Martenizas, Мартеници) here.