28 February 2014 | Kempinski Hotel Zografski Sofia
Martenitsa

Martenitsa, The Bulgarian Amulet for Health and Luck

 you are a foreigner walking along the streets in Bulgaria on the 1st of March, you will for sure be surprised to see all people - and even their pets - wearing red-and-white threads in various shapes. Some look like tassels, others like human figures, and still others can be decorated with blue beads, small golden coins or colorful threads. They can be worn on the wrist, on your neck as a necklace or on the left side of your dress. This is the martenitsa, the traditional symbol of health, luck and reviving nature.

    

From ancient times the martenitsa was accepted as a ritual sign - an amulet for protection from evil spirits having the magic power to chase away demons, diseases and misfortune.

Baba Marta, the woman character after which the month of March is named, is described in folklore as an old lady with unstable temperament: when she is smiling, the sun is shining; when she is mad at somebody, cold weather is firming the ground. Her temper is believed to be closely connected with the martenitsa tradition and there is even an ancient saying that "If you don't wear your martenitsa, Baba Marta will bring evil things to you".

Nowadays, in addition to the old beliefs, people in Bulgaria wear martenitsas as a symbol of the coming spring and reviving nature: blossoming trees, first spring birds, etc. Then people remove their martenitsas and tie them to a blossoming fruit tree.

Another belief is to put your martenitsa under a stone when you see the first stork.

We are happy to give you a little martenitsa with the warmest wishes for health, happiness and a better life!

 

28 February 2014

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