I have never known exactly how those bracelets were made, but now I know. It’s easier than it seems. To make real martenitsas, use not too thick red and white yarn. I am very pleased with the button idea (ordinary white buttons). They were really transformed on the red yarn. If you don’t know how to make these martenitsas, I have photographed the process for you. I stretched the yarn on the legs of an overturned chair (I know this trick from grandma). Then I tied them up and started winding one piece of yarn over the others. When I wanted to change the color, I just put the piece back with the other yarn and picked another one. I finished by tying a knot.
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.