Честита Баба Марта! (pronounced "Chestita Baba Marta!" meaning "Happy Baba Marta Day!)
We're a very pan-European bunch at Voilà Chocolat. Though based in NYC, our team hails from France (bien sûr), Germany, and Bulgaria. We're actually a little overrepresented with Bulgarians around here.
This is very nice for us, because we find that Bulgarians tend to be very friendly, pride themselves on their hospitality, and have some lovely traditions that most New Yorkers have never heard about before -- although the Wall Street Journal recently helped spread a little knowledge about Bulgarian culture.
Today, March 1, is Baba Marta Day, (“Granny March Day”), a traditional celebration of the coming of spring...
In early March, Bulgarians exchange and wear red and white yarn tassels called “martenitsi.”
The common belief is that by wearing the red and white colors of a martenitsa, people ask Baba Marta for mercy. They hope that it will make winter pass faster and bring spring.
At the first sign of spring, such as a returning stork or emerging blooms, they tie their martenitsa to a blossoming tree.
As we face yet another 3" of snow in NYC tonight, we hope to see more signs of spring soon. If wearing martenitsi bring this about, then so be it! Stop by our store at 221 W. 79th St., where we are sharing and wearing our martenitsi today.
We have them tied on our "tree" in our window too. Why so soon? Because (no kidding, we are not making this up...) moments after we put up a poster about Baba Marta in our window, we saw a sparrow outside, flit down and perch on the snowbank on the curb. We cannot remember when we last saw a little bird in NYC this winter. Call it superstition, but we just saw it working, with our own eyes.