Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chestita Baba Marta!

The Balkan Heritage Field School sent me this interesting tidbit about Bulgarian culture and one of their ancient pagan customs.

These first few days of March will see the Bulgarians wearing red and white in deference to Baba Marta, a grumpy old lady whose mood swings symbolize the end of winter and beginning of spring. Bulgarians exchange red and white tassels and small dolls called Pizho and Penda in the hopes of bringing each other good fortune and happiness. They also wish to appease Baba Marta so that she will bring spring faster.

These dolls, depending on where you live in Bulgaria, are removed in a ritualistic fashion. Some hang them on trees to give the tree health and some hide them under a rock with the idea that the person/animal to be closest to the rock will determine the giver's health for the season.

Wikipedia has a great article about Martenitsa. Read about it here.

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