Saturday, 6 March 2010

Winter Has Made a Comeback

The animals are stuck in today due to the weather, we've a good covering of snow and more expected. The temperatures have dropped (below zero at night) and I'm feeling pretty low today and having trouble staying warm despite the huge woolly jumper I'm wearing, the woodburner doing it's job and my "Baba" socks as the kids call them! I must say that I love the "Baba" socks (hand knitted of course) and they were one of my best buys here lol

I'd hoped to be able to catch up on the mountain of washing here, get out in the garden for a while as I have some snowdrops to plant, muck out the pigs and so much other stuff this week but with weather like this I'm much more inclined to stay inside. Admittedly other jobs that I'd planned to do over the winter months haven't been done either - our staircase needs another coat of paint, there are boxes that need sorting through, some tiling to finish, a ceiling to paint and other niggly jobs but to be honest I'm not worried about them - they will get done at some point, although I'm not sure when!

As I'm typing this hubby has been forced out of the door by one of our Bulgarian friends to go to his house and collect something! Not sure what it is yet but apparently he can't take the car or the wheelbarrow.........guess I'll have to wait and find out more when he comes back, I'm hoping it's a bale of lucerne for the horses as we're almost out and not another 19 day old chicks! Oh and the sun is making a brief appearance to remind us it's still there Yay.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Busy Times Ahead

Well it looks like this year could be quite productive. Hubby has a few jobs coming in now that the weather is improving and there will soon be loads to do in the garden. After the inactivity of the winter I'm quite looking forward to getting out there and turning the garden into a flourishing (hopefully) vegetable plot again.

Fresh, warm air on the skin, a suntan developing as you work and long, light nights with a good barbecue and possibly a beer or 2 is something we're all waiting for. Having all of the windows in the house open, hearing the crickets chirping and bull frogs calling is all part of summer here and we love it.

Unfortunately we've still got a little way to go until summer and we're forecast for colder weather and more snow over the next week, looks like Baba Marta isn't too happy this year and is going to throw her weight around for a while longer!

Monday, 1 March 2010

1st March - Baba Marta Day

On the first day of March and few days afterwards, Bulgarians exchange and wear white and red tassels or small dolls called "Пижо и Пенда" (Pizho and Penda). In Bulgarian folklore the name Baba Marta (in Bulgarian баба Марта meaning Grandma March) is related to a grumpy old lady whose mood swings change very rapidly.

This is an old pagan tradition and remains almost unchanged today. The common belief is that by wearing the red and white colours of the martenitsa, people ask Baba Marta for mercy. They hope that it will make winter pass faster and bring spring. Many people wear more than one martenitsa. They receive them as presents from relatives, close friends and colleagues. Martenitsa is usually worn pinned on the clothes, near the collar, or tied around the wrist. The tradition calls for wearing the martenitsa until the person sees a stork or a swallow. The stork is considered a harbinger of spring and as evidence that Baba Marta is in a good mood and is about to retire.
A martenitsa is then tied to a blossoming tree, a symbol of approaching spring....

The ritual of finally taking off the martenitsa may be different in the different parts of Bulgaria. Some people would tie their martenitsa on a branch of a fruit tree, thus giving the tree health and luck, which the person wearing the martenitsa has enjoyed himself while wearing it. Others would put the martenitsa under a stone with the idea that the kind of the creature (usually an insect) closest to the token the next day will determine the person's health for the rest of the year. If the creature is a larva or a worm, the coming year will be healthy, and full of success. The same luck is associated with an ant, the difference being that the person will have to work hard to reach success. If the creature near the token is a spider, then the person is in trouble and may not enjoy luck, health, or personal success.

The martenitsa is also a stylized symbol of Mother Nature. At that early-spring/late-winter time of the year, Nature seems full of hopes and expectations. The white symbolizes the purity of the melting white snow and the red symbolizes the setting of the sun which becomes more and more intense as spring progresses. These two natural resources are the source of life. They are also associated with the male and female beginnings.

Wearing one or more martenitsi is a very popular Bulgarian tradition. The martenitsa symbolises new life, conception, fertility, and spring. The time during which it is worn is meant to be a joyful holiday commemorating health and long life. The colours of the martenitsa are interpreted as symbols of purity and life, as well as the need for harmony in Nature and in people's lives.
Pizho and Penda
This was kindly posted by Carole of