Photographer's Note

Today is the 1st of March and itís one very special day for Bulgarian people. Itís a long standing tradition on that day to give each other these little small red and white objects called Martenitsa. They bear the name of March, in Bulgarian Mart and stand for symbols of good health and good luck. According to our tradition, behind the name Mart stands an angry old lady who changes her mood very rapidly. Her name is Grandma Marta, in Bulgarian Baba Marta.
The tradition has remained almost the same today as it began. Today Bulgarians give the red and white colors to please Baba Marta so she will not make us cold. In doing so, we hope the spring will come as soon as possible. Once we have those tokens, which we put on our clothes or wrist, we wear them until we see a stork. After seeing this bird, we have to take away the tokens; because the stork is showing us that the spring is already here. In the different parts of the country, however, the process of taking away the token is different. Some tie it on a fruit tree, thus giving the tree the health and luck that we had while having the token. Others put it under a stone. The kind of insect we find right next to the token the next day will determine our health for the rest of the year. If it is a worm, it will be a very healthy year, and we will have success. It is the same in with an ant; the difference is that we will have to work a lot to reach success. If it is a spider, then we are in trouble and we might not have that luck with health and personal success.
The "martenitsa" is also an odd artistic image of nature. At that period of the year, nature is full of hopes and expectations. It also symbolized the purity of the white snow going away and the red settings of the sun becoming more and more intensive with the coming spring. These two natural resources are necessary for the life as well as the male and female spirits.
A decoration with "martenitsi" is the most typical and unique Bulgarian tradition. Now the "martenitsa" symbolized new life, conception, fertility, and spring. This holiday is for joy, health and long life.

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Additional Photos by Vesela Ignatova (Vesela) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 245 W: 0 N: 85] (967)
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