In Bulgaria March is associated with the coming of the spring. It is considered the first spring month and starts with an unique and beautiful ancient tradition – wearing of martenitsas.
“Martenitsa” is a red and white woven threads and tassels symbol of the wish for good health and prosperity. They are the heralds of the spring and while white as a color symbolizes purity and soul, red is a symbol of life and passion. It is given as an amulet in the period of spring, when nature gets “reborn” and starts blossoming.
The tradition requires that on the first day of March and few days afterwards, Bulgarians exchange and wear white and red tassels or small thread dolls called Pizho and Penda. The tradition calls for wearing the martenitsa until the person sees a stork or a blooming tree. The ritual of finally taking off the martenitsa may be different in the different parts of Bulgaria. In most cases people would tie their martenitsa on a branch of a fruit tree, thus giving the tree health and luck.
According to the legends the tradition to wear martenitsas started in 7th century. Despite its ancient roots it is very strong today and you would definitely be given a martenitsa or two if you are in Bulgaria during first days of March.