|Bulgarian twin girls watch their mother making Martenitsa.(People’s Daily Online/ Xing Lu)
It is still cold in Beijing, but the Bulgarian Embassy is embracing the spring. The Embassy invited Bulgarians and Chinese college students to celebrate its traditional holiday - the Baba Marta Day on March 1 by making Martenitsa, a symbol of spring made of twisted white and red thread.
On that first day of March, Bulgarians exchange Martenitsa and celebrate the advent of spring. This custom is essentially to wish great health, good luck, and happiness to family and friends.
“The Baba Marta Day to the Bulgarian is like the Spring Festival to the Chinese. During the holiday, red and white Martenitsa can be seen everywhere in Bulgaria,” introduced Professor Ge Zhiqiang from Beijing Foreign Studies University. “Red represents blood, indicating good health; white indicates pure soul,” said Desi from Bulgaria.
The name "Martenitsa" is taken from the Bulgarian word for March, or, as a legend tells, an angry old lady called Grandma Marta - Baba Marta in Bulgarian. She is a grumpy old woman who changes her mood very rapidly and it is reflected in the changeable March weather. When she is smiling the weather is sunny and warm, but if she gets angry the cold will stay for longer and it may even snow. "By wearing the red and white colors of the Martenitsa our predecessors asked Baba Marta for mercy. They hoped that it will make winter pass faster and bring spring,"said Desi.
Professor Lin Wenshuang from Beijing Foreign Studies University wore a Martenitsa on her three-year-old daughter and told her to tie it on a tree branch when she firstly saw a swallow. “Then the spring lady will wish you good health in the new year.”