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Facts About Martenitsa Bulgarian Traditions

Facts About Martenitsa Bulgarian Traditions
Facts About Martenitsa Bulgarian Traditions

Every country has its own unique traditions. When people visit a foreign country, they get to experience a new culture and listen to the native speakers of a language. They also get to see various traditions. Most traditions have a particular season or date when they are celebrated. They also have a long history behind them. None of them just started at random. Some of them are centuries old, while others are relatively new in comparison. In any case, they are very important to those that celebrate them and should be respected by outsiders too.


The sixteenth largest country in Europe, Bulgaria is known for its history. Although it is not advanced as other European states, Bulgaria is still a developing country. The biggest problem in Bulgaria is corruption that has been keeping it from reaching the height of success. The population of the country is also shrinking annually. Currently, only seven million people live in the country. Machine building and mining are the most popular industries in Bulgaria. The country was ruled by the Ottomans and the Romans, something that is evident in the culture of Bulgaria. The ancient folk-traditions are still practiced with love. They have played a huge part in keeping the nation united.


A Martenitsa is a piece of adornment, commonly made of wool (red and white) in the shape of dolls, that is worn by people to welcome spring. The rules regarding tradition are different everywhere in the country. But the dolls are usually worn around the neck or wrist or pinned to clothing until the wearer sees a stork or a swallow. The seeing of the first stork of the spring season means that the winter is over. After that, the dolls are taken off.

Bulgaria culture & language

Facts About Martenitsa Bulgaria Traditions:

Here are some fun facts about the Martenitsa that might give you a better understanding of it:

  1. Two Dolls:

A typical Martenitsa is always made of red and white wool. But it is also made in the shape of two small dolls: Pizho and Penda. The Pizho is the male doll that is mostly white with clear male clothing. Penda has a skirt, which is her distinguishing feature and is mostly made up of red wool.

  1. Red and White:

The two colors that are used for making Martenitsa dolls are red and white. Where white signifies purity, red can be considered a symbol of life and passion. Both colors can be seen as the balance that exists in our world. They teach us that life and death both have to exist in the world. Woven together, white and red symbolize the wish for good health.

  1. Given as Gifts:

According to tradition, the Martenitsi should never be bought for one’s self. They must only be given as gifts. However, there is no limitation on the number or type of people you can give them to. People mostly give them to their friends, loved ones, and family members. They can also be given to acquaintances if you feel close to them.

  1. Baba Marta:

Baba Marta Day is 1st March when people wear their Martenitsi. In Bulgaria tradition like folklore, Baba Marta is a very grumpy old lady whose mood swings can be dangerous. People wear red and white to ask Baba Marta for mercy. Through their Martenitsi, they hope to see the end of winter. When they see a stork, they believe that Baba Marta is in a good mood and will give way to spring soon.

Martenitsa Bulgarian Traditions
  1. Taking Off:

The ritual of taking off the Martenitsi is different everywhere. In some regions, people take off the dolls and then tie them around a blossoming tree. This way, they give the tree good health and luck. But in some regions, people put it under a stone and check it the next day. The kind of insect they see near the token determines their health for the next year. If they see a larva or worm, then they will have a healthy year. Seeing an ant is also a good omen, but it means that a person will have to work hard for success. A spider, on the other hand, means that the person will not enjoy good health or luck.

  1. Ancient and Modern:

The tradition is quite old and might have Pagan origins. A few features of it can also be traced back to Roman origins. Today, various versions of the tradition are celebrated in Greece, Albania, Romania, Moldova, and North Macedonia. A few changes have also been introduced in some regions. Young Bulgarians add beads in their woolen dolls. However, the idea behind the Martenitsa remains the same because even today, it is a way of welcoming the spring and hoping for an early end of winter. It is used to celebrate nature. It is also a good reminder of the fact that everything exists in a balance in nature.

Learning about the tradition of a foreign country can be quite fascinating, but it is also important to be respectful in your actions. Curiosity should not make you disrespect a culture. There are many traditions that are celebrated around the world. Each of them has its own unique history. By learning about the traditions that are celebrating by people, we can also begin to understand different cultures in a much better way. Studying the cultures of others will bring us closer to them and make world peace a reality.

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