Martenitsa on a tree

Say Hello to March and find out who Baba Marta is

Say Hello to March and find out who Baba Marta is

Ancient symbols of spring, health, peace and fertility

For most people in Europe, the arrival of March also means the end of winter, spring cleaning and spending more time outdoors. On the Balkans, this month has held a special meaning for the local people since times immemorial.

In Bulgaria

On 1 March, the Day of “Grannie Marta” (Baba Marta), Bulgarians decorate themselves with a martenitsa - a small piece of adornment, made of white and red yarn. This tradition marks one of the most Bulgarian customs and it dictates that the wearer should take off the martenitsa when they see a blossoming tree or a stork

The white color symbolizes beauty, purity, innocence and joy. The red one is the color of vitality, health and love, victory, life and courage, the light of a rising or  a setting sun.

This color according to popular belief, has the power of the sun and gives vitality to every creature. At the end of March you can see many trees adorned with red and white bracelets in Bulgaria. That likely means that this was the first tree in blossom that the people passing by encountered during the season.

In Greece

Greek ethnologists connect this custom with the ancient pagan history of the Balkan Peninsula, especially with the agricultural fertility cults. Martenitsas (μάρτης) in Greece are preserved only in the high mountain areas far from major urban and cultural centers.

In Greek villages grandmothers tie martenitsas to small children’s hands so that they will be healthy and happy all year long. In general, this custom has been forgotten in the big cities, but around the Universities and the places where young people gather, you can see smiling boys and girls with red and white bracelets around their wrists. 

In Romania

Martenitsa (mărțișor) is an ancient symbol representing the revival of nature on the cusp of spring. This custom, according to tradition, is related to the time of symbolic death and symbolic birth of a local female deity – Baba Dokiya. Martsashor is also the name for the month of March in Romanian language.

Source: Wikipedia



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