"Chestita Baba Marta!" Happy Granny Marta to you!
The beginning of March marks a typical Bulgarian tradition of wearing and/or exchanging Martenitsi (plural). A Martenitsa (singular) consists of two small wool dolls: The boy doll named Pizho is mostly white, and the girl doll named Penda is mostly red.
A Martenitsa can also be a red-and-white woven cord or bracelet.The combined two thread colors symbolize the wish for good health. They celebrate Mother Nature, or Granny Marta, breathing life into the spring season. White symbolizes purity, and red symbolizes life and love.The Martenitsi are given as gifts to family and friends either pinned to clothing or as a bracelet, until the wearer sees a stork or swallow returning from migration, or a blossoming tree, and then the Martenitsa is removed and tied to a branch.
This is a joyful holiday time, commemorating health and long life and probably for some, the start of warmer weather. Read more about the Bulgarian March culture here:BNR Radio Bulgaria and Sofia Adventures.
To honor this Bulgarian tradition, I've chosen to read red and white books for March. My short stack includes (AMZ links below):