March 01, 2011

Chestita Baba Marta

March 1st is a significant day in the Bulgarian calendar. Each year Bulgarians present to relatives and friends martenitsa - a double red and white tassel signifying health and happiness.
On the first day of March, people in Bulgaria put the martenitsa on their clothes or wrists and wish each other health and happiness with “Chestita Baba Marta” - (”Happy Grandma Marta”). “Marta” comes from the word for March (Mart) in Bulgarian.
Martenitsa are supposed to be worn until the person sees the first stork returning from the South. Then martenitsa are then tied onto a tree branch. The act of giving the martenitsa is in expectation of the near spring season. The “arrival” of the stork indicates that this has happened.
Although we have to go to the zoo in Seattle to see a stork, we can still wish each other "Chestita Baba Marta!"

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