Happy 1st March, everyone! Wish you all the best luck, happiness and health possible J!
As every time at the beginning of the first month of spring, I couldn’t refrain to share some photos and some explanations about one of the most wonderful feats and customs/traditions at the Balkan Peninsula. At 1st March, people in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Moldova, even in north Greece give one another small (or not so small) souvenirs (Marchers, or martenitsi – мартеници) made of white and red threads. According to the tradition, then we pin them on our clothes or tie them on our wrists (depends on the type of the Marcher), so that we could be lucky and healthy throughout the year. The red thread symbolizes blood, life, the white thread – purity and happiness and the ancient custom goes that the oldest woman in the family has to tie Marchers on the wrists of the children to protect them against bad luck and to help them to be healthy. Marchers are used to be tied on wedding bouquets and on the herbs that are picked on 24th June (the day of John The Baptizer), or on the vessel in which the first milk on 6th May is milked (the day of George The Dragon Slayer). Then, to fulfill the purpose of the Marchers, they have to be hanged and tied on a tree that gives fruit when the first stork (or in some parts the first migratory bird) comes in spring, or when the first blossom appears on such a tree. Marchers could be put under stone too and could be used to predict the future – if there are ants under that stone after a month, the year will be fruitful and prosperous. Then, the good luck and health will be present throughout the year too.
That’s why one could see Marchers on the clothes or wrists of every man, woman and child on 1st March in Bulgaria. Later, the small red and white souvenirs hanged on the trees at many places after a month, are the same amazing view, as are all the stands on the streets and super-markets full of Marchers at the first days of March.
The Marchers custom is at least a thousand years old. Though there are many different hypothesizes for its origin, no one is certain which one of them is the true one. According to one of these suppositions, the ancient Bulgarians were the first who used Marchers, after an important, won battle. Then, the sister of an ancient Bulgarian king sent a message to her brother in the form of a “Marcher” – two white threads, one of them dipped in the blood of the dead soldiers…
http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/TaleOfTheRockPieces.html, http://allanbard.hit.bg, http://allanbard.hpage.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Allan-Bard-Ivan-Stoikov-Fan-Page-Strategic-Book-Group/121092637984053,