Which Countries Celebrate Barta Marta?

Society | Author: Diana Kavardzhikova |March 1, 2024, Friday // 09:40
Bulgaria: Which Countries Celebrate Barta Marta? Pixabay

The tradition of exchanging amulets in white and red for health dates back thousands of years and is popular in several neighboring to Bulgaria countries. In all countries with this tradition, the arrival of spring is celebrated, and wishes for health, luck, and fertility are exchanged. Therefore, the tradition has been inscribed in UNESCO under the name “Cultural Practices Associated to the 1st of March” as part of the world's cultural heritage.

In 2017, during a meeting of The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO held in the Republic of Korea, the multinational nomination for the element Martenitsa was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The nomination was submitted by four countries: Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Moldova, and Romania.

Moldova

March 1st is called “Mărțișor” in Moldova, derived from the Moldovan word “Marti” (March). According to the tradition, girls give Martenitsa to boys, which are worn until the end of the month. In early April, they are taken off and hung on a fruit tree. Every year, Moldova hosts the “Mărțișor”  festival, which has become a significant celebration.

Romania

In Romania, the amulet made of white and red threads is also called “mărțișor”. It is tied on the wrist only of women and children. If a Martenitsa is given to a man, he should wear it in his pocket or shoe without it being visible. Romanians associate the Martenitsa with “Baba Dochia”, who spins a long thread of time while climbing the mountain with her sheep during the first nine days of March. This period is associated with the beginning of the agricultural year and the new cycle of nature. Every Romanian woman chooses one of the first nine days of March and predicts her luck for the year based on it. If the chosen day is sunny, she will enjoy luck and fertility. If the chosen day is cold and rainy, she must beware of misfortune and disasters.

North Macedonia

In North Macedonia, Martenitsas are called “martinki”. It is believed that they hold magical significance and protect against evil forces while bringing health and fertility. Martinki should be worn only on the left hand and not visible. They can be worn under clothing but must be kept away from prying eyes. A Martenitsa can also be hung on the door to protect the home. Macedonians wear the Martenitsa until they see the first swallow, at which point they traditionally place it under a stone.

Greece

The tradition of wearing Martenitsas is also popular in Northern Greece. Martenitsas are tied on children’s wrists to protect their faces from being burned by the first spring sun. Some people tie them on their fingers or ankles, believing that wearing them prevents stumbling. In some regions of Greece, Martenitsas are hung on pink branches for fertility, while in others, they are hung on vines to keep the water cool and away from the sun’s rays. The Martenitsa is taken off when the first swallow appears. According to another belief, the threads are removed only at Easter, when they are hung on the large candle lit in the church of the Resurrection of Christ, as reported by аctualno.com.

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Tags: martenitsa, countries, celebrate, spring

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