Monday, February 27, 2012

A Dance for Baba Marta: Children's Celebrations in Bulgaria

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!" ~Robin Williams

The first of March is a day of celebration in Bulgaria, for it is the Day of Baba Marta, which means the beginning of spring! From what I've seen on the news, Europe has had a particularly bad winter, and Bulgaria was hit hard with freezing cold and snow.

Baba Marta is symbolized by an elderly woman. Her name means Grandma March. In temperate climates, the month of March is notorious for wild weather; there are days when you can walk around without a jacket; and other days when it's time for the parkas and snow boots. The saying "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb" describes how changeable this month can be.

Baba Marta is very moody and and can bring bad weather at a moment's notice. It is important to please her by wearing red and white threaded pieces of yarn, called Martenitsa, on your wrist as a bracelet or on your jacket as a brooch. She also likes it when you dress up in her colors, red and white. It is customary to wear the Martenitsa until the trees start to bloom, or when the first stork is visible. Then you put it on a blossoming tree.

This week's post features children's celebrations for Baba Marta with plenty of singing and dancing. They are entirely in Bulgarian, with no subtitles. Dance is a universal language, so there's nothing lost in translation :) The first group of children are festively dressed in red and white folk costumes. They are really cute :)

The next video is a celebration in a nursery school which includes a song and a dance for Baba Marta, led by the Babi (grandmothers). By the way, Честита Баба Марта means "Happy Baba Marta Day."

This link explains some more about the tradition of the Martenitsa, and the history behind it.

Last year I posted a story about a Martenitsa tree in my back yard. These trees in Varna, Bulgaria, decked out with Martenitsas are so much fancier than mine. Check this out:

March first is also a name day for people with the names Martin, Martina, Marta, Dochka, Docho, Evdokia, Evdokim. By the way, one of my daughters is named Martina, and her favorite color is red :)

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Martenitsa Tree, A Modern Day Folktale

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Martenitsa, But Were Afraid to Ask: (includes pictures, the legend of the Martenitsa, and a Martenitsa fight). Lots of fun!

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  1. A belated Happy Baba Marta Day to you, Katley! :)
    It is a really sweet tradition, and those kids and grandmas are soooo cute! :)