Mar 1, 2012

Google Doodle History: Bulgarian Martenitsa (March 1, 2008 and 2011)

Google celebrated in 2008 and 2011 the Bulgarian holiday "Baba Marta" and the symbol "martenitsa" with special Doodles.



Martenitsa is a small piece of adornment, made of white and red yarn and worn from March 1 until around the end of March (or the first time an individual sees a stork, swallow, or budding tree). 







The name of the holiday is Baba Marta. "Baba" is the Bulgarian word for "grandmother" and Mart is the Bulgarian word for the month of March. Baba Marta is a Bulgarian tradition related to welcoming the upcoming spring. 







The month of March, according to Bulgarian folklore, marks the beginning of springtime. Therefore, the first day of March is a traditional holiday associated with sending off winter and welcoming spring.








The red and white woven threads symbolize the wish for good health. They are the heralds of the coming of spring in Bulgaria and life in general. While white as a color symbolizes purity, red is a symbol of life and passion, thus some ethnologists have proposed that, in its very origins, the custom might have reminded people of the constant cycle of life and death, the balance of good and evil, and of the sorrow and happiness in human life.





On the first day of March and for a few days afterwards, Bulgarians exchange and wear white and red tassels or small dolls called Pizho and Penda.






The ritual of finally taking off the martenitsa may be different in different parts of Bulgaria. 







Some people would tie their martenitsa on a branch of a fruit tree, thus giving the tree health and luck, which the person wearing the martenitsa has enjoyed himself while wearing it. Others would put the martenitsa under a stone with the idea that the kind of creature (usually an insect) closest to the token the next day will determine the person's health for the rest of the year. If the creature is a larva or a worm, the coming year will be healthy, and full of success. The same luck is associated with an ant, the difference being that the person will have to work hard to reach success. If the creature near the token is a spider, then the person is in trouble and may not enjoy luck, health, or personal success.





Martenitsi are always given as gifts. People never buy martenitsi for themselves. They are given to loved ones, friends, and those people to whom one feels close. They are worn on clothing, or around the wrist or neck, until the wearer sees a stork or swallow returning from migration, or a blossoming tree, and then removes the Martenitsa and hangs it on a blossoming tree.





via Wikipedia, Google, YouTube



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