Monday, July 24, 2006

Martenitzi - The beginning of Spring

This is a Bulgarian tradition dating back as far as 681 AD, the tradition starts on the 1st March as it is the start of spring time.

The tradition is that on the 1st March every year the Bulgarian people give white and red tassles (martenitzi) to each other that they wear round their wrists. The martenitza (singular for martenitzi) are worn round the wrist until the person wearing it sees a stork or until they see the first blossom on a fruit tree.

Once the wearer has removed the martenitza after seeing a stork or the first blossom of a fruit tree they will tie it round a branch of a fruit tree which will then bring health and luck to the tree, hopefully meaning it will have a bumper crop that year.

Because this tradition is followed by most of the population, at the end of march you can see many trees with hundreds of martenitzi tied round the branches and it is a beautiful sight to behold, not only for the vision but for the years of tradition associated with it.

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