There are really interesting traditions in Bulgaria that a lot of foreigner find strange.
One of these traditions is on First of March to give martenica. The word martenica comes from March (Mart in Bulgarian).
The reason to keep all these traditions is that Bulgarians are superstitious and believe that twisted white and red thread give us health.
Originally the Martenica is made of twisted white and red wool thread.
With the years the tradition changes and these days there are a lot of designs of Martenica – the important thing is to have red and white.
What to do with the martenica? On 1st of March (not earlier) Bulgarians exchange martenica. Keep the martenica until you see the first stork or blossomed tree or shrub. Then you leave your Martenica on some branch.
An on other interesting tradition. We have “grandmother Marta”. Yes, this is real! There are a lot of children songs with grandmother Marta.
Grandmother Marta is а sister of Goliam (Big) and Malak (Small) Sechko.
The old Bulgarian name in January is Goliam (Big) Sechko (verb “seka” means cut a tree in Bulgarian) , as the great cold stops any agricultural activity.
The Malak (Small) Sechko is the ancient name of February, because February has only 28 days, as opposed to Big Sechko (January), who always has 31 days.
To find more information the key word in Bugarian is “мартеница” and “баба Марта”.
One very cute video: