ЧЕСТИТА БАБА МАРТА (Happy Grandma March Day)
In Bulgaria, the first of March is a celebration of the coming spring. It’s a time to of hope and a time of friendships rekindled. People seek out their friends and acquaintances to exchange simple bracelets of braided red and white thread. The colors symbolize health and happiness in the new year, but something else happens in the giving and receiving of “Мартенички”(Martenitsi). Inevitably, stories are exchanged as well which lead to deeper and more meaningful connections. And, because it is normal to give a Martenitsa back to anyone who gives you one, it’s mutual.
Even though the exchanges of bracelets happens all on one day, it isn’t uncommon to see Bulgarians with dozens of bracelets on both wrists. Each one symbolizes a connection. Each one, a shared story. Each one, a renewed relationship for the year. How great is that? A cultural custom that sets aside a day for renewing connections, and physical reminders of them!
At the heart of the holiday is a shared feeling of hope. After a long winter, the Baba Marta celebrations serve to remind people that spring is just around the corner and with it will come the hope and growth of a whole year of new things. And, it reminds us to start by remembering and reinforcing the relationships in our lives. Rekindling relationships is a necessary part of using your whole network. Who are you going to reach out to today?