Svetlana Georgieva, a primary school teacher from Varna, sent us the pictures of this baba Marta wreath. What a great idea! Why indeed should there be a Christmas wreath but not a baba Marta one?
You need a couple of vine branches to twist into a wreath. You may add some willlow twigs, too – for extra elegance. Wrap with red and white yarn here and there. Tie small red and white pom-poms between those yarn ‘rings’. Of course, you may also use mixed-color pom-poms. That’s it!
It’s not hard, but it certainly looks nice!
Аnd this is the ‘Baba Marta Tree’ made by Natalia Zlateva and her son Marti. They are from Varna, too. Their dogwood branches with red and white yarn decorations have blossomed in a vase.
What is ‘martenitsa’?
In Bulgarian folklore the month of March is often portrayed as a plump, cheerful old lady, “baba Marta”. The 1st day of her reign is celebrated with red and white ornaments in various designs – as bracelets, brooches, pom-poms…
The origins of this ritual are lost in time, but the meaning is clear – they are luck charms you give away to wish good health (and good looks, too!) Friends, family, even pets and domestic animals get one.They are also a countdown to spring – you wear them every day until you see the first stork, or swallow, or blossoming tree. Then you take themartenitsa off and tie it to a branch.