Celebrating Bulgarian Tradition: Sixth Annual Martenitsa-Tree in Chicago

Photo: Peter Stamatov @eurochicago.com

Embracing the rich cultural heritage of Bulgaria, Bulgarians in Chicago marked the sixth consecutive year of the international "Martenitsa" project on February 25th. This initiative, which originates from the ancient Bulgarian tradition of martenitsa, aims to spread the symbolic red and white adornments globally, fostering a sense of Bulgarianness and promoting a positive image of Bulgaria and its communities worldwide.

The concept of adorning trees with martenitsi was first conceived by Stara Zagora artist Marijan Milanov in 1992. Since then, the tradition has flourished, with red and white trees gracing squares in Sofia, Burgas, Plovdiv, Varna, and beyond. The goal of the project is to decorate at least one martenitsa tree in every city across the globe, thereby popularizing the holiday and its significance.

In Chicago, the event took place in the garden adjacent to the renowned Art Institute, organized by members of the Bulgarian-American Association, one of the oldest public associations with social goals in the Bulgarian community. Supported by both male and female compatriots, the participants braved the harsh weather conditions, contributing new and creative martenitsi to adorn the tree.

Petranka Stamatova, Velina and Lumil Ivanovi, and Tsvetelina Boinovska, who decorated the martenitsa tree, extend an invitation to fellow Bulgarians and visitors to join them on March 3rd, when the Bulgarian flag will be raised in front of the city hall. Passers-by will have the opportunity to adorn themselves with martenitsa, symbolizing health, luck, and strength for the upcoming year.

Rooted in ancient tradition, the practice of wearing martenitsi on March 1st predates Christianity, symbolizing the transition from winter to spring. In Bulgaria...

Continue reading on: