1st of March – Baba Marta
Martenitsa is one of the most characteristic symbols of Bulgaria. It is a decoration made of tasseled woolen red and white threads arranged in various shapes and in some areas of the country a blue thread is also added to guard against damnation or other colour threads. Martenitsa is given to wear on the first day of March and one has to wear it until they see the first tree in blossom or the first migratory bird. After this the decoration is taken off and hung on an orchard tree or tossed into a river. People decorate with martenitsa also orchard trees and farm animals for good health and yields throughout the year.
Initially, only women and children used to decorate themselves with martenitsa but nowadays all people wear it. The custom is for the oldest woman in the family to make the decorations using red and white threads and to give them on the 1st of March to the children and younger women to wear on their clothes. Martenitsa received as a gift from other people brings the most of good health and luck and therefore, all people today give it away on this day to their close ones greeting them with “Happy Baba Marta” (Happy grunny March).
This tradition is still kept today not only in Bulgaria but also in Romania, Moldova, FYRO Macedonia, parts of Greece, Serbia and Albania, as well as in a small area in Russia. http://www.telekabeltv.bg/bg/videos/307.html