Martenitsa for good – Join us!

Spring is coming soon and on the 1st of March Bulgarians celebrate a centuries-old tradition. They exchange “martenitsa” on the day of Baba Marta. The tradition of giving red-and-white interwoven strings to your friends brings health and happiness during the year and it’s a reminder that spring is near.

Martenitsas are red and white coloured bands or figurines that symbolise health and happiness, a lucky charm against evil spirits. They are given away to friends and family and are worn around the wrist or on clothes. In the small villages in the mountains, people decorate their houses, kids and domestic animals.

People wear martenitsa for a certain period, that ends with first signs of spring -bird storks or blossoming trees. Some people then tie their martenitsa to a tree, others place it under a rock and based on what they find there the next morning they guess what kind of a year is ahead.

A typical Martenitsa consists of two small wool dolls, Pizho and Penda (Bulgarian: Пижо и Пенда). Pizho, the male doll, is usually white; Penda, the female doll, is distinguished by her skirt and is usually red.

To keep this tradition alive this year Smokinya supports a wonderful initiative of Our Premature Children Foundation from Sofia which called Make martenitsa for the youngest heroes.

We also encourage YOU to become part of it!

All you need to get involved is skilled hands, a little material for work and imagination.

Make martenitsas that:
– to hang like Pizho and Penda (not bracelets);
– to be no larger than 4-5 cm;
– do not worry about the packaging, the organization will take care;
– if you find it difficult to create them yourself, you can also send purchased ones, but you should note that they are not handmade.

The Our Premature Babies Foundation will attach postcards to all martenitsas with a message to the family and the baby, add the name of the volunteer (don’t forget to write it) and send them to more than 30 neonatology wards across the country.

If more martenitsas are collected during the campaign than there are families in hospitals, the additional units will be announced for a charity sale in support of the Our Premature Babies Foundation’s work.

Why we want YOU get involved?

Every parent of a premature baby who is in the neonatal ward needs support. With this small but a significant gesture we will show the families that we think about them, and thus we will inspire them with strength and courage.

How is Smokinya involved?

The Smokinya team decided to take part in this, and we simply want to involve you – by giving information about the program, and, if you want, we will make sure that your martenitsa gets to the main organizers.

Also we are organising a live Instgram on the 13th of February to share with you some techniques for making martinitsa in all simplicity. More information about the event HERE.

Bring your ready-made martenitsas to Peyka Cafe on February 16 at any time between 10 – 17. One of our volunteers will bring them from Plovdiv to Sofia. If you want to bring your work personally to Sofia, write to our email and we will inform you of the address of the Our Premature Babies Foundation.

We need 750 martenitsas. The more – the better, as wisdom says.

No age limitations, all young and old are invited to join!

This program is co-funded by the European Solidarity Corps program of the European Union.

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an
endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be
held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. //
Подкрепата на Европейската комисия за изготвянето на настоящата публикация не представлява
одобрение на съдържанието, което отразява гледните точки само на авторите и не може да се търси
отговорност от Комисията за всяка употреба, която може да бъде използвана за информацията,
съдържаща се в нея.


Martenitsa for good – Join us!