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Baba Marta Day – One Of My Favorite Bulgarian Holidays

March 1 is one of my favourite holidays here in Bulgaria. It’s called “Baba Marta”, which means “Granny Marta”. On this day we exchange small adornments made of red and white yarn called “martenitsi”. They could be cute bracelets or small dolls representing a boy and a girl. We wear them every day until the spring comes. When we see the first migratory birds, we tie our “martenitsi” to a blooming tree.

The month of March is traditionally associated with a woman because the weather changes like a woman’s mood. I’m sure men were those who thought this up. 😀

This holiday is celebrated in parts of Romania, and other Balkan countries too. I have a Romanian friend and he said that there only women who get “martenitsi”. Unlike there, here in Bulgaria everybody wears them, including domestic animals.

I know that there are many people from the Balkans here on Virily, so I’m curious to know how you celebrate this holiday in your country.

And if you are not from the Balkans, please tell me a little bit about your favourite holidays and traditions. 🙂

See also:

The International Festival of the Masquerade Games in Bulgaria

Yordanovden: An Unusual Bulgarian Tradition

Christmas Eve in Bulgaria

How Much Do You Know About The Geography Of Bulgaria?

#1 Pizho and Penda

These little dolls have their own names, they are called Pizho and Penda.

    • Thank you! There are different legends, but they are in white and red, becasue white symbolizes beauty and purity, and red means vitality and health.

  1. This custom was kept in eastern Serbia and Macedonia. On the first day of March, a traditional holiday related to the departure of winter and a welcome spring.

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#2 Pizho and Penda 2

  1. My Serbian husband has some similar looking “dolls,” but they aren’t made of yarn, and he doesn’t associate them with any holiday. They are small and in traditional dress. He left Serbia when he was eleven so he doesn’t’ remember all the names of the seasonal festivals they celebrated. Since he was mostly there during the years of WW2 and German occupation, not a lot of celebrating went on. The only thing he still celebrated when he came here was Slava.

    • Yes, folk costumes can be similar, especially in areas near the border. By a costume you can determine where the person is from, what’s their social and marital status, etc. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about them and sadly, this tradition is dying.
      Slava is an interesting holiday, I think it’s typically Serbian. Here the days of the saints are celebrated a little bit differently.

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#3 Bracelets

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#4 Bracelets 2

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What do you think?

26 Points

Written by ellie925


  1. I just loved you saying that men must have thought up the connection with women – variety is at least better than stultification! Men are usually in a rut, whereas women are more adaptable…

  2. As always you’ve shared something amazing Ellie! I love learning about the traditions of other countries! Thank you so much, plus, the pictures you shared were amazing!

  3. From my heart I will take the red, from your face I will take the white and I will call our martenitsa for health, luck and love! Happy Baba Marta!