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March 1-st - Baba Marta has come

It's March 1st. But a much stronger emotion awakens in us when we casually exclaim, "Grandma Martha has come." Then the image of this old woman, who is now laughing, now angry and angry, writes a wide smile on our faces. Why? Because even harsh sometimes, Baba Marta comes with spring. And spring brings new life. Everything wakes up dead, blooms, turns green… Everything comes to life and dresses in new colors.

It is no coincidence that when we talk about Baba Marta, we perceive her as a very real woman. The credit for this goes to the many tales that tell us stories related to it. And with the Sechkovs - the Big and the Small. In other words - January and February. Te, according to popular belief, are her brothers.

In the past, early in the morning before sunrise, it was a tradition for women to clean their houses and yards. It was a ritual cleansing - to welcome spring. And then the garbage caught fire. The first ritual fire in the spring was this. A red robe or rug hung on the fence of the yard. To make Baba Marta happy. In some parts of the country, even after sunrise, only young girls went out of the village, and adults remained locked up at home. So as not to anger the old woman.

A thousand-year-old Bulgarian tradition is associated with Baba Marta, and in particular with the first of March, which is invariably present in our culture - the tying of martenitsas.

There is hardly a Bulgarian who does not look forward (and with a childish desire) to receive a martenitsa. And although in modern times the holiday has become quite commercialized, there are still people who knit their own martenitsas. Beautiful - white and red. From wool - as once.

The two main colors, both today and in the past, were white and red. White has been associated with masculinity and strength for centuries. At the male beginning. However, Christianity changes this notion of him. And red was a symbol of the feminine principle and blood. Thus twisted, red and white formed a whole. It is no coincidence that these colors are present in the wedding ceremony. We see them in the traditional costumes of both men and women.

Apart from the fact that the martenitsas were made of white and red thread, other colors were also present. Different and different - yellow, green, brown, blue ... Each of them was a symbol of something - the yellow of the sun, the brown - of the earth, and the green - of the new beginning.

Once knitted, martenitsas were decorated on people's first of March, placed in houses, and even tied to animals for health. It was believed that they guarded the house. They pretended that diseases would not enter. And for health, happiness and longevity.

Today we no longer knit martenitsas. We do not suck them, we do not create them ourselves. We buy them. And yet the tradition is alive. Beware. And it will be stored. As it has been preserved over the years. And the centuries. Because the ancestors of our martenitsas are believed to have existed in Thracian times. They were twigs adorned with white and red threads. That's what historical sources say.

With Baba Marta (and the first of March) comes spring. The economic year begins, the new cycle of nature comes. Everything comes to life. Wakes up. And he is preparing for a new beginning ...

Text: Nelly Parashkevova


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