Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Baba Marta, 2020

Posted on by royvickery |





Red-and-white decorations attached to ornamental cherry (Prunus cv.) tree, Balham High Road, London Borough of Wandsworth, photographed 13 April 2020.

These pictures were posted on the London Fortean Society Facebook page, attracting the following comments:

1.  They have been seen in London … for at least a couple of decades!!!

2. I used to do it in the  early 1990s – my ex was Bulgarian and we used to get sent loads of the red and white martinitza thingies.  Special cards too.

3.  We (Bulgarians) call these red threads martenitza, they are for health and fertility.  We exchange them as gifts on 1 March.  After wearing it, the person must tie it around a tree branch.

4.  The legend is that the sun came down to earth in the form of a young woman, she was kidnapped by a dragon to bring in an age of winter, the dragon was defeated by a hero, as the hero died his blood fell upon the white snow as the sun was freed and restored sunshine to the world.

Comment by Anabel Graetz, on Traditional Calendar Customs & Ceremonies Facebook page, April 2020:

I was told that when you saw a stork you tied it to a tree to welcome spring, that was in Bulgaria in 1987.

For further information see ‘QUERY: Strings tied on tree’, posted 19 February 2019.

Updated 19 April 2020.

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