Another one of the Bulgarian traditions is linked to the beginning of spring. On the 1st of March, we celebrate the day of “Granny Martha”. She’s a mythological creature in Bulgarian folklore and symbolizes the changing moods of March. We have a tradition to wear little ornaments that we call “Martenitsa”. These ornaments are usually made of two woolen strings – one white and one red. There are many variations and the ones that most Bulgarians are wearing are tied on our hand.
There are also Martenitsa with two little people. There is a love story hidden in this tradition but I’m sure nobody really knows it. The important part is that the white little fellow is in love with the red beauty. In some regions of Bulgaria, the tradition is different. Most often we use only white and red, but in Melnik we add a blue string against evil spells. Nowadays we add all kinds of symbols and even cartoon characters when we make these ornaments for children.
The main legend remains unclear. There are many different versions. The one that I learned as a child is a story about our very first King. For those of you who love Game of Thrones, it would maybe interest you that the word “Khal” has its origins from our “Khan” and that’s how we called our kings before the 9th century. After a big battle, the news about the victory was sent with a white pigeon. The pigeon was unfortunately wounded before arriving by the king and its blood stained the white paper. The good news arrived on the 1st of March and that’s why on this day we bind the white/red ornaments for luck and health.
We wear the bracelets for a long time and even shower with them. Don’t be surprised if you visit Bulgaria in the middle of March and everyone has some white and red woolen strings around their wrist. One can remove it only after seeing the first real signs of spring – a blossomed tree or a stork. Then we bind them to a tree so that it’ll be fruitful.
I like the whole white/red combo and decided to wear a white dress with very small red touches. I love these earrings which are conveniently in the right colors without having anything to do with the holiday. The high boots can compensate for the shortness of the dress and make the whole look sexier.