Penka Kostadinova made these cheerful Pizho and Penda martenitsas from gourds.
The kids from the Sun Group at Forget-me-not Preschool 6 in Pleven and their teacher Valentina Marinova sent us these wonderful mushrooms and storks last year. The mushrooms were made from plastic bottles, and the storks are made from styrofoam balls and wooden skewers.
This spring wreath with a martenitsa for the 1st of March was sent to us by Anna Toteva.
These are the flowers from baba Marta’s garden, made from napkins and flowerpots by the children from 3A group at Spring Preschool in Sevlievo – and their teacher Nadya Mihailova.
These martenitsas were sent to us by Maria Uzunova (Munieca&Iashi). Тhey were made with a special machine, but you could use with our cardboard template.
Татyana Vassileva shared her martenitsas with us on Facebook – a lovely basket and the Little Red Riding Hood.
Here are Emilia Encheva’s instructions for making these small March trees:
We used baby formula measuring spoons for the base and filled them with plasticine to make them stable. We made the trunk of one tree from twisted wire, and the other one was the stalk of a bouquet of artificial flowers I had used up in another project. We shaped the tree with pliers and bent the ends (and in some cases the middle) so that we would have a place to hang the martenitsas from. We made small white and red martenitsas, leaving the ends longer to tie them to the branches. We finished by brushing the base with clear lacquer and sprinkling it with the yarn clippings.
These martenitsas were sent to us by the Miladinovi Cultural Centre
And here’s the March tree made by Pavel Dichev.
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 blossoming tree. Then you take the martenitsa off and tie it to a branch.