This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Last updated at 15:45 GMT, Monday, 01 March 2010

Costumes and celebrations: March

The photo

Martenitsi in Sofia

"I took this photo end of March 2008 in Sofia, Bulgaria. In the background you can see the Alexander-Nevski-Cathedrale and in the trees are hanging the famous Martenitsi.

"The last 2.5 years we were living in Bulgaria, so I could take part in this nice tradition."

Simone Königer

About Martenitsa

A Martenitsa is made of white and red yarn and worn from March 1 until the end of March, or until the first time you see a stork. The name of this holiday is Baba Marta. Baba means grandmother in Bulgarian and Mart is the month of March. It is a Bulgarian tradition for welcoming the spring.

The red and white Martenitsi symbolize many things: good health, happiness and life.

On the first day of March and the next days the Bulgarians and also the foreigners living there, exchange and wear white and red tassels, small dolls and flowers.

Many people wear a lot of Martenitsi: you receive them as presents from relatives, friends and colleagues. There are different rituals when to take the Martenitsa off: for example when you see the first stork or a tree with blossoms. If you don’t see any of these at all by the end of March, you can tie the little Martenitsa to a tree, so a stork can pick it up!

It is a very popular Bulgarian tradition. At the end of February there are dozens of stalls in the street selling the newest types of Martenitsi and everybody is buying a bag full of them to give away.

Your comments

Tell us what you think about this photo. Have you ever been to Bulgaria? What festivals or celebrations are held in your area in March?

You can also email us your photos of traditional March festivals and celebrations.

We'll publish favourite comments and photos.

Please note that you should only send us your own photos and we can't guarantee to publish all photos submitted.

This topic has now closed. Thanks for all your comments.

Stella, Republic of Moldova
Hi, everyone! Speaking about Martenitsa, or Martsishor, as we call it in Moldova and Romania, I'd also like to add something from the history of this holiday. This tradition appeared long, long ago. During the Roman Empire period, there was a vast territory in the North of it, called Dacia (look in the history books). Today, from Dacia remained only Romania and Republic of Moldova. Its borders spread in today's Bulgaria, and also a good part of Ukraine. Martenitsa, or Martsishor, in fact is a Dacian tradition and it is very ancient one. That's why, it's not so much surprising for me that this tradition is kept in Bulgaria, too, because I knew about this since I was borne. There are very many legends related to Martsishor (search in the Internet).

Fatma, Turkey
that is very nice photo we have a lot of traditions for welcoming the spring in turkey Im sorry for my englısh but a few know I like to learn

Vusale, Azerbaijan
thank you for this is very interesting for me.i have never been in Bulgaria.i was very glad that learn this information.bye kiss you

Vananh, Vietnam
i'd like this photo very much because when i look in this photo i feel that the atmosphere of spring in bulgaria is very pure. thanks for your enjoyable story. i hope that i can visit bulgaria and take part in this tradition festival.

Tsering, India
Any traditional festival or celebration will always give joy and peace.

Kostia, Ukraine
Bulgarians are our brothers, there are a lot of bulgarians in Ukraine! Very beautiful and interesting tradition! I am also surprised that there is Alesander Nevski Cathedrale in Bulgaria, named after russian hero.

Ngoc, Vietnam
I like this photograph very reminded i think about my festival country-Tet holiday,i prefer the day before Tet to the day after,all members of family come back home together to prepare for Tet .All people are very happy and wonderful,everybody give luckiest wishes about love,heath,money,job...special the childen are red enviroment .i also like them.This festival also for welcoming to spring

Hamada, Morocco
what's a nice picture, thank you very much for publishing it it's really beautiful, i've never been in bulgaria befor. but from this picture its seems to me that their people are friendly. I like to visit this city. in my country we have a lot of traditions for welcoming the spring my favorit season, we organized parties and vacations to see green fields and do barbecue in forest that's all I have thanks.

Valmir, Brazil
I have never traveled to Bulgaria, but through of photo, I can see it`s a pretty place.Here in Goiás state of Brazil, in March, generally, we celebrate Easter.On this celebration, we join the parentes and distribute chocolate one to the other. Have fun!!!

Anadia, Brazil
Great tradition.Also in Bulgaria you have a tradition where people dress up in write clothes and go up montain,on sunrise(I think) gather there to celebrate the life with music and dance in circle, isn't it?You have a great country.

Chris, Singapore
That is a very beautiful photo.It is clear, beautiful and natural.I wish I can go there.The tradition is very interesting and i think it is a kind of beauty and authentic. This world is full of amazing places as well as traditions.In Singapore, we welcome the spring in decorating our house in sea of red. Like post lots of chinese words-(red colour) to symbolise the luck,happiness,wealth and a good life.Many thanks to you , Simone for sharing this beautiful photo and amazing traditons.

I thing is an interesting tradition, in Mexico we celebrate the spring with kid`s parade, they wear customs.regardsSamuel

Maria, Bulgaria
Simone, Thank you very mach for this beautiful photograph and precenting about Martenitsa. Really, it is Bulgarian tradition for welcoming the spring and new life.

Sergio, Moldavia
in Moldavia is the same traditions,is funny ! ! !

Ahmad, Syria
It is very nice photo I d' like the historicity buildings too much. I born in Damascus but I live now in U.K. but I miss my city. Damascus is the oldest capital in the world so it has a lot of historicity buildingsas Umayyad Mosque-Palmyra-Bosra theater archaeological.I hope to you to visit it.

Michel, Brazil
I have never traveled overseas,but I enjoyed this traditional Bulgarian festival.Here in my country we celebrate easter that means Jesus Christ death.

beautiful :) and nice waether too

Tasson,Thailand beautiful

Angel, Bulgaria
The tradition is everywhere in the country not only in front of that cathedrale.

Simo, Romania
lovely tradition,in Romania is too!

Tiziano, Italy
I have never been in Bulgaria but i believe that all the traditions in every country are most important to transmit to the new generation its own identity

Ania, Mexico
In my country, we welcome spring at the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan. It is located 50 km north-east of Mexico City. People usually get dressed in white to soak up with the energy of this magic place.

Gihan, Srilanka
In Sri Lanka we celebrate it on mid of April (14th or 13th). We call it Sinhala/Hindu new year. Lot of customs , lot of traditional games we play on that day..Specially on that day men wear sarong and women wear osariya(Traditional clothe). Also every home make traditional foods(There are lot of traditional foods ).

Chinhsiung, Taiwan
In Taiwan, we call lunar new year holidays Spring Festival. It's arround the first half of February, also the beginning of spring. We exchange lucky words of the range from health to career when we meet each other on the very first days of the lunar new year, usually arround 15 days. We decorate our house's doors by post red stripes of paper on which with new wishes in poem style. I think we share the same spirit as Bulgarian's to welcoming spring because it represent new and promising opportunities for life.

Gabriela, Rumania
In Rumenia is Martishor too! =D

Marcos, Brazil
It is very nice. I have never been in Bulgaria before, but of course I would love to. In my area, Pedreira a small tall in São Paulo state in Brazil, in March we celebrate the feast of San Jose.

Taufique Khan, India
Thank you for showing this remind many things about me.

A Sattar, United Kindom
This is very beautiful photograph like the beautiful tradition of Balgaria. I have not been to that place but when ever i will visit to Balgaria ,I will go there in march. Every country has its own tradition and festivals. I am basically from Pakistan.In my country, the basant(Kite flying) is celebrated in march. It is very famous. The different colors of kites are used in this festival and people come from all over the world to enjoy this festival. This is also for welcoming the spring.

Sidarta, Brazil
I like traditional history,about Martenitsa i thougt a so interesting. In my country in March has a week santa, a Catolic tradition, wich in the Friday people don´t eat meat, this period persons eat a lot of fish and prawns.

Viktor, Bulgaria
I am very happylly surprised to see some article about our hollydays. :) There are'n many in websites like BBC. It is quite exciting :). As you see I am from Bulgaria, not from Sofia, but Plovdiv. I've been in Sofia and really like it. The photo you've published is great! :) Hope that I'll have time to send you some info about next month's festivals , celebrations and so on, because I really like you :)Many greetings from Bulgaria !

Diana, Colombia
I haven/t been in that place, but I think It is a beautiful and happy tradition for welcoming the spring! also it is very nice that foreigners people that living here can enjoy this kind of festival like Bulgarian people.The Cathedral is gorgeous !In Colombia we have a lot festivals in March, but every one is absolutely different to the others and the are celebrations in deferents parts of Colombia, they are: Festival de la Arepa de Huevo ( Arepa is a special cake made with corn and egg) In the North of the country Luruaco, Atlántico Folkloric Dance Festival in El Peñol, Antioquia March 11 - 12Original song Vallenata Festival in Bolivar Marzo 11 - 13Vallenato is a popular music in Colombia.Tambours Festival in San Martin de Loba, Bolivar March 11 - 13 Folkloric and cultural Festival in Curumaní, Cesar March 14 - 17Acordeón Music Festival in Bolivar March 15 -17( The acordeón is a music instrument to play vallenato) Garzón y Collazos Festival in Ibagué, Tolima March 18 -l22Song Llanera International Festival inl Villavicencio, Meta March 19 - 23Tel-stories l Regional festival in Barranquilla, Atlántico March 20 International Music Festival in Leticia, Amazonas March 21- 25

Quyen Chung, Vietnam
Hi, thank you very much for showing me such a very nice picture about tradition of Bulgaria. It reminds me our Tet Holiday (Vietnamese New Year). We also hang red things such as red envelops, New Year cards on small plants or bonsai trees which we put them in our living rooms (for city people) and in main houses (for contryside people)to welcome the Spring. The red envelops are also symbol for luckiness and happiness.

Carlos, Spain
Hi! I´ve never been to Sofia. Not only the beautiful photo that you have presented us, but also your description of that peculiar tradition, encourage me to travel to that country. Due to the fact that at present I don´t have enough money, I´m forced to write down that destination in my list of countries to visit in a next future.In my country, Spain, we don´t have a feast so atractive in March, but lots of families celebrate the day of the father (19th March) by gathering children and parents to have a familiar meal, in which children can take the opportunity to give a present to their father.

Michele, Italy
I went to Bulgaria three years ago. I enjoyed myself very much. I got the feeling that it's a beautiful country, very proud of its traditions and history. I saw the tradition of Martenitsa during my birthday celebration, which is 19th August, because my friends gave me some types of Martenitsa, as presents. Now, when I want to celebrate something I hang them up at home: it's a good way to remember this beautiful country and its friendly population.

Hoa, Vietnam
The tradition and custom always exist their own values of culture and spirit. Each country has specific traditions such as Tet of Vietnam, Carnaval of Bazil, Baba Marta of Bulgaria so on. Unfortunately, in the modern life many traditions gradually disappear or not keeping their original forms. Therefore, it's our responsibility to preserve and restore these traditions, aimed at maintaining cultural and spiritual heritage of the mankind in the world.

Sergio Picón, Colombia
Very interesting tradition, and beautiful picture. I'd like to celebrate customes and traditions like this one here in Colombia. The thing that I like the most is the meaning of the red and white Martenitsi.

Cha-aim, Thailand
Wow!! what a nice traditional.It would be nice if there are a lot of the little Martenitsi on a tree.

Jessica, Japan
It seems to me,this event for women.Because the yarn and strings are red and white and small sachets looks so cute.To my surprise,we have same meaning of baba in Japan!I feel very familiar with Martenitsi in Bulgaria.Besides,I think that is romantic and heartful festival .

Arif, Istanbul
customs are nostalgic events and make me very happy wherever they live. It recalled me that the People are honest and friendly. thanks

Falak, Afghanistan
I think which celebrate a lot of people in world tradition and in different time.but i do not know abut in Bulgarian people custom.but thank you for your photos it is very nice.

Jose Rondon, Colombia
I dont know similar costumer and celebration in Colombia, bot I am tink that is a interstig, I like the picture...

Baba also meansn grandmather in Japan!What kind of flower is this, Cherry?masaki

Avril, Viet nam
what a nice photo.If i can go to visit your country,i will go to Martenitsa

Matheus, Brazil
Well, the cultural diversity in the world is amazig!!! And I know that cause i live in Brazil, and here there are several traditions, for exemple: -in march 21th, brazilian neo-pagan community celebrates the autumnal equinox.-from middle february to beginning march, the italian-brazilian community celebrates the grapefest.

Dian, Belgium
Yes,indeed it is a very nice tradition.It is celebrated in Romania too. I used to be a teacher in Romania and on the 1-st of March all the pupils at school gave me one.I had hundreds.Now I am longing to have one,a real, because I got plenty but virtual.

after read this article,i really want to go Martenitsa.

I´ve never been in Bulgaria and I know few things about this country.This photo of the celebration is very interesting! I´m so glad because today I was think to travel to Europe and I intend to star studing about bulgarian cultures!

Silvia, Italy
it's nice to know other traditions from different countries

Itza, Mexico
it`s a beautiful place....and it is a interesting traditions...i like son much

Valentina, Italy
In Italy a similar tradition doesn't exist, that's a pity because these celebrations are very nice!

Jun, South Korea
It's so nice tradition out of foriegn tradition. i'v got a martenitsa from my proffessor. The martenitsa i'v got one is red and white string with small shoes. i think in Bulgaria, a great number of martenitsi are there.

Diana, Bulgaria
I'm living far from Bulgaria and don't celebrate this tradition from longtime.It's nice to see a picture of my native country. Thank you Simone! Thanks to all of you for your comments!

Konstantin, Bulgaria
I am so happy that my people in Bulgaria keep the tradition of wearing "martenitsa" on 1-st of March and still celebrate the beginning of the Spring! This tradition brings a lot of joy and smiles in these cold days. Thanks for this nice photo..

Cyrus, Hong Kong
It's really nice.The Martennitsa is quite similar to the chinese new year.

Maher, Jordan
Really it is very intresting to konw the other tradtions and celebrations.

Sonia, Brazil
We don't have the seasons so definite like in Europe. We are a essencialy catholic country and we have several religious feast.Our main celebration is the Carnival. Simone, thank you for the picture and informations.It's good to share differents cultures and traditions.

Orazio, Italy
Tha tradition is the salt of the life!

Alain, France
it's always very interresting to learn about foreign tratidion.I think that tradition, like Martestias, is very good for big city because it's sometime difficult to make relationship in such town. Don't you think?

Antonio, Italy
I did't knew this bulgarian tradition.I think this is really an interesting one.Celebrate spring make me cheerful.I would like my friends will give me a Martenitsi

Cairo, Egypt
the photo it is awsome :) and liked ur country tradition to welcome spring :)

Kula, China
nice photo.I have never been to Bulgaria.I wish I could be there someday,seeing someone hanging the famous and beautiful Martenitsi.In China,we also hanging something in the trees and make a good wish.but we don't exchange anything.I hope great tradition could be save and hand down.

Karolina, Poland
Hello. In Poland we're walcoming the spring on 21st March. Before children make Marzanna- ugly Winter lady. It is from sticks, old- fashion clothes etc.. In first day of spring we are drowning or burning Marzanna, in this way we say "goodbay" to winter. Unfortunately this tradiotion is still alive only in primary schools, so when I was reading about Martenisa, it remainded me of my childhood. It's nice to find out that many countries celebrate begining of the spring too. I really like the picture. I can't wait for spring and warm wind!!

Ranie, Canada
I was very interested and impressed to read about the Bulgarian tradition. Also I am so happy to learn the meaning of Martenitsa now I could relate to my friends about this colorful event. Thank you Simone for sharing this wonderful tradition with us.

Eleonora, Venezuela
OH! It's a very beautiful tradition! and the picture is awesome.

Aaron, Vietnam
In Vietnam, we have 2 main colors for welcoming new year which are red of peach blossoms and yellow of apricot. Look into this pic, I am not surely in mood of celebrating new spring, It's probably because of different culture. Anyway I still felt something very healthful, brand-new and warm. I love it

Tatyana Petrova, Bulgaria
I think is beautiful and it made me feel like crying, because I haven't celebrated the beginning of the spring the way I used to for a long, long time ago.This photo reminds me how beautiful my country is. Thank you Simone for taking my memories back.:-)

Elfide Tahir, Turkey
Hi everyone! I was born in Bulgaria and I grown up there till when I was about 6. I am a Turk but I know about that celebration and Martenitsi remand me my childhood! Thanks Simon..

Murat, Turkey
all i wanna say is that photo is awsome..i like it..

Beautiful!...a tradition of a place is worth celebrating and should stay alive in the hearts of masses.The role of traditon is of high importance for unity and cooperation where people work hand in hand to feel the spirit and essence of its impact.Nowadays,festivities and merrymaking are celebrated through various forms of ceremonies where traditon is being brought back to its life...its contributions spiced up a colorful life...

Corina, France
In Romania and Moldova, we have the same tradition. We give a "martisor" to our family, friends or colleagues.The "martisor" means that the spring is coming and the winter will soon be gone.

it's so beautiful.Bulgary,the country of roses, i love it :D seeing this photo, i really like to go there :) my favorite hobby is traveling. i hope to be there.enjoy the fresh air and learn more about the custom here

Siamak, Iran
hi every body.In iran in the last tueseday night of march we are fiering the wood and every one jump over it until neer the,s very lovely and amusing.Then we said goodbye winter and starting the newroozcelebration .have a good day every people in bulgaria

HM, France
Thank you for this photo, it brings warm and sunlight to me. Spring will be soon coming to Paris, though it's still rainy and dull in the city. Happiness and good luck for you all, and enjoy this great moment of the year.

Roberta Rubinstein, Brazil
The picture is really beautiful! The sun is shinning and that cathedral is amazing! I didn´t know anything about Bulgaria, learning about it´s tradition was very interesting.

Awesome! It's really great when people remember their traditons!!

Ionut, Romania
It should be said that there is a similar tradition in Romania, that is called "Martsishor." On March 1, only girls and women receive and wear on theirs chests the "Martsishors", which are small figurines representing flowers or anything that could be associated with the spring. The figurines are accompanied by a red string and a white one. There is a part of the country (Moldavia) where boys actually receive and wear the "Martsishors".Any way, amazing resemblance with the Bulgarian tradition!

Natalia, Russia
It's very nice tradition! I have bulgarian boss and every year he gives us these Martenitsi, but we are wearing them only 1 day))

Different countries have different customs,nice to see them and try to find distinction between them,

I'm from Bulgaria and I think that it is very nice tradition!

Toan,Viet Nam
That'realy interesting.i've never been in forgein country so it express to me!custumes and celebrations are my favorite subbjects, i wanted to know about diffirent cultures.there are a lot of custumes and celebrations in my country but something trange allways attract to me.

Nuri, Turkmenistan
Hello, I can't wait other subject and I write again. This picture remembered me netural beauty of our world. And this tradition help as to feel it. People should to notice and feel this Netural beauty. Unfortunately more more people can't feel it because they thought only one think (money,car, football....) I'm sad for them. If they can feel this beauty they can live without stress. I feel this beauty and I'm very very happy. I'm strongly advise to feel this beauty. I'm happy to share my idea and to read a others idea. I,m forward to new subject. Thanks for everyone!

Sook, Korea
I've been to Sofia last fall. It was a little chilly and rainy at that time. I wish I could go there once again especially in spring. In Korea, spring is the season when cherry bloosoms and azaleas cover all over the country. So, many people go on a picnic to enjoy the flowers and nice weather.

Cheers! I love to learn new places. As soon as possible I would like to visit this place.

Nuri, Turkmenistan
Hello everyone! I'm new and from. Turkmenistan. It's good think to shareour different cultural wealthy. And It's make as frends. Our differences cause to make as frends. If I'm respecting other nations cultural traditions also they will respect mine.I'm very happy to share with you my opinion and I'm sorry for to take your important time. For everyone nice and happy day.

Hi,I'm bulgarian and i was pleasantly surprised to read here about this nice tradition in my country.I enjoy it very much and for us,bulgarians,to give martenitsa to somebody is as wishing him health and long life.Now i live in Italy but each year my granny send me martenitsi so i can follow the traditions of my birthplace even here :-)

Eastborneo, Indonesia
thank you for the information...i have just known about's very nice tradition. in my country also has unique tradition.

Kalid , Qatar
I haven't been to Bulgaria but I hope so, we don't have any spring season here but in fact its first time I hear about this tradition, I know there are a lot of tradition around the world, I wish too to travel to Bulgaria and joine this celebration and festivals.

Pingping guo, China
This photo is pretty good ,but my English is very poor,so my comments is just fittable

Camilo, Colombia
It´s wonderful this picture and I would like to know Bulgaria some day. I love the traditions of the regions and we learn about the culture of every country.Thanks...........Bye

Yosef, Morocco
It is quite important to know about customs and traditions specially form Eastern Europe.Thanks for sharing.

Bellokhlifi, Algeria
thank you alot for these informations.i did not know all this before...thanks alot.

Zainab, Holland
I've never been to Bulgaria, but I think it's a very nice tradition. Because I love the spring time, so I think I'll go to Bulgaria and celebrate this tradition at least for one time in my life!!

Faisal, Iran
Hi everybody I,ve never been to Bulgaria but this description made me feel excited about Iran on twenty first of march is our new YEAR.

Cristina, Mexico
It's a lively photo, the martenitzas seem to say to the flowers: awake, the spring is coming. As all traditions,it's a beautiful costume, besides conveying kowledge and cultural continuity. Thanks Simone for sharing it.

Şirwan, Kurdistan
Hi all ! Celebration of welcome spring is an enjoyable tradition in our culture. We call that as Newruz. We go for a picnic and we also fly a kite. Difference between other cultures and our culture is jumping over the flame. We burn something like tyre and we take each other by the hand and we jump over it. That is so amusing.

Rose Araújo, Brazil
It's amazing to know that such wonderful traditions still exist. It's the proof that our ancient and good values can susvive to such terrible and common news that the youngs are up to follow nowadays. In my city, most of citzens are catholic. During march we prepare ourselves for the party of Saint Joseph, on the nineteenth day. All the followers of all churches of the city go to the cathedral to watch the mass.It's always very beautiful!

Yarsk, Czech Republic
Hi all of you,we also celebrate the end of winter in my Country. This celebration is very similar to the "maslenitsa" as Artyom wrote. We throw scarecrow called "morena" or "Lady Winter" to the river or stream, to say Winter "Good Bye".

Nina, Russia
Yes,Artyom is right. There is a great holliday so called Pancake week, Mardi Gras. We enjoy pancakes, visit our relatives and friens, go for a walk to different parks, where (at that time) are big stages and singers, dancers are invited to take part in evening shows for public, and of course you can participate in competitions (your prize would be a hot tasty pancake)...I wish i would be in Bulgaria in AutumnI was there twice in Summer and twice not far from Sofia.. and..if you are looking for, where to spend your summer holiday, be sure, you will do it in Bulgaria and have a good time there))

Mero, Egypt
hey.guys its a very nice tradition thanks for the good advice

Vasil, Bulgaria
Hi, evebody!I think it is one very nice Tradition!Take it!

Sebastiana, Spain
In the eastern of Spain, we usually welcome spring after Easter. Friends go for a picnic, in the little village where I live.

Gustavo, Brazil
I've never been to Bulgaria but I think that celebration is quite nice! Here in Brazil we don't have any celebration to give welcome when seasons arrive.

Fabio, Brazil
This tradition in Bulgarian is very nice. I've never heard about that but with this description I thought how different and interesting are the culture around the world. It's important highlight the picture above, it's great.

Artyom, Russia
In my country we usually celebrate the sevendays holidays which called "maslenitsa". of curse it's connected with pancakes and scarecrow. Many russians eat pancakes and at last day in Sunday we burnt scarecrow!!! That's funny!!! We are glad to meet spring and say "bye" to winter.

All costumes

  1. Home
  2. Specials
  3. Costumes and celebrations: March