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10 quick questions about martenitsas

date: 01/03/2019

1. What is MARTENITSA?

Martenitsa, also known as marrinka, marta, martyka, gadalushka, kitchinka, is a ritual decoration of twisted threads that are put on March 1 for health. Martenitsa is a small ornament made mainly of wool or cotton yarn in two basic colors - white and red, which Bulgarians give to each other every year on March 1 - Baba Martha.

2. Where is it spread?

This custom is typical of the Balkan Peninsula and has become a Balkan tradition. It is present in Romania and Moldova, where the martenitsa is called marţişor (martisor). Martenitsa is also embedded in the Bulgarian ethnic territories, which have remained in the borders of the neighboring countries - the western suburbs, the Republic of Macedonia (called martinka), northern Greece (martyr) and the districts of Golo Brdo and Prespa in Albania (monk). Martenitsa is generally known to the majority of the population in the Balkans, but mainly Bulgarians have managed to turn it into a subject of ritual-artistic value, which has gained more importance over the years, as it fits into the cultural life of the country.

3. Did you know that ...?

Martenitsa is listed on the UNESCO representative list of elements of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind, nominated by Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia.

4. What does the red and white color mean?

In its classic form, the martenitsa is a twisted white and red thread, most often woolen. Colors have a strict meaning: red - blood, life; white - purity, happiness. The tradition is on the first day of March, the oldest woman in the family to tie the children's wrists with white and red threads for health and against bad eyes. That is why martenitsa decorates the wedding wrists and the wedding banner; with martenitsa is decorated the caldron, where the first milk of Gergyovden is put; with the martenitsa the collected on Enyovden herbs are tied. In Schopluka and Melnicko, instead of white thread, a blue thread is inserted into the martenitsa (opposite to the tutorials) and several more colors are placed in the Rhodope Mountains.

5. How to make the most authentic martenitsa Pijo and Penda?

ou take a white and a red thread - possibly woolen. Bind the two threads together. Ask a friend to hold one end of the threads, you hold the other (if there is no one to help, tie the end to something). You tighten the thread and start to roll your fingers in just one direction. Roll the threads until, when loosen a little, they start wrapping each other in a tight twist. Carefully collect both ends and loose the thread. The martenitsa cord is ready. Take a card of 5 cm by 6 cm. Fold it in two. Start wrapping the white or red yarn around it so that it is folded from one end to the other. Wrap as many times as you like. The more rounds, the more pendulous is Penda. Finally cut the thread. Pass the twisted thread through the folded part of the cardboard. Cut the wrapped thread to the point where the cardboard is not folded. The tassels are thus obtained. Carefully pull the cardboard and tie the two ends of the cord. Then, with another thread or with a piece cut off the cord, tie down to form a head. In the sam way you can shape your hands, legs and Penda or Pijo is ready.

6. Where are the roots of the folk tradition?

There is no unambiguous answer to this question because there are many myths and legends, but little written evidence.

Baba Martha's holiday in Bulgarian traditions is a symbol of spring and brings wishes for health and fertility at the beginning of the new cycle in nature. March 1st marked the arrival of Baba Martha, the mythological image in Bulgarian folklore, representing the changing month of March. The tradition is related to ancient pagan history from the Balkans, related to all agricultural cults to nature. Some of the most specific features of the First March ritual, especially the binding of the twisted white and red woolen threads, are the result of a centuries-old tradition, which was inherent in Thracian and Hellenic antiquity.

Early writings on the Thracian-Hellenic antiquity call the ancestors of the martenitsas eirezione (of the erion-wool /old greek/). They are twigs woven with white and red woolen threads. According to the Byzantine Encyclopedia, Etimologicum Magnum (about 1150), eyreason are decorated not only with red and white threads, but also with dried fruit. Although relatively late, the encyclopedia contains information from much earlier works. The Eirezione itself is worn customarily on at least one of Apollón's celebrations, similar to the Dionysian holidays. Among the earliest sources for making and carrying eiretian is the Roman author Lutzian Placid, who lived during the time of Emperor Theodosius I (379-395), who left a description in which a branch of woven red and white threads is worn on a holiday devoted to the goddess Athena Paladas. In the primordial rituals, some researchers see traces of rituals related to the reception of the ancient Roman New Year, which took place on March 1. They were performed in honor of the god Mars, to whom the month was also called.

7.How long are the martenitsas worn?

Martenitsas are worn to the appearance of the first blooming tree or the first migratory bird, that is to say, until the spring. Then place it on a tree or under a stone. In the latter case, a reading of the future can be made. If there are ants after a month under the stone, the year will be fruitful and fit. Another custom is the martenitsas to be tied to twigs of a blooming tree or bush. Thus in many places in Bulgaria traditionally can be seen decorated trees and shrubs. Another custom is to wear martenitsas until the first storks are seen and then hang on a tree. In some parts of Bulgaria with martenitsas are decorated domestic animals and fruit trees. Sometimes the martenitsa goes to the nearest river "to go as the river flows".

8. Which martenitsa brings good luck?

The tradition also states that happiness and luck will give you only the martenitsa that is given to you. That's why they all give martenitsas to their relatives and friends.

The most valuable are the handmade martenitsas of authentic materials - wool, cotton and wood. It can include a bead, a dried fruit, a seed, a flower or a penny. Everything else on the many stalls is the subject of uneducated commercial imagination and is often honest kitsch.

9. Is this custom compatible with Christianity?

Many controversies have given rise to the widespread use of this folk tradition with pagan roots in Bulgaria. The opinion of representatives of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church varies from total denial and attempts to prohibit to lenient acceptance, due to the enormous popularity and joyful festivity of the March ritual. Perhaps the sense of measure is the best counselor of any contemporary parent when educating their children in Christian virtues, familiarizing them with the folk traditions of the Bulgarian people.

10. Where and when was martenitsa on a global Internet platform?

On the occasion of Baba Marta on March 1, 2011, with Google Doodle, the Google search engine logo is dotted with intertwined white and red threads and is embellished with red and white tassels.


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