Friday, 28 February 2014

Baba Marta

For the first of March, you say. Чеctиtа Баба Марtа! 
Among bolts of bright fabric, embroidered shirts, painted bowls, carved spoons, in the shop at the Ethnographic Institute in Sofia, you’re telling me about martenitsi – these woven red and white bands. Warding off winter, heralding spring, these twists of thread keep Baba Marta happy. Grandma March likes red.  

Season of snowdrops and crocus, birdsong and breezes, unexpected frosts and click-clacking branches like stripped umbrellas – March is capricious. Wants trust. Demands to be placated.

On wrists, lapels, fruit trees, rose bushes, iron winter ends in red and white. 

In Bulgaria, 1 March is Baba Marta or March Day when red-and-white amulets or martenitsi are given as a sign that winter is over. 

Images & martenitsi: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

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