Saturday, February 23, 2008

Martenitsas


E-mail from Carlyn:
Subject: just an idea for a blog posting -invitation to make a Martenitsa
Date: Saturday, February 23, 2008 6:51:08 PM

Spring is Almost Here...
In Bulgaria, spring is ushered in with a delightful custom: Bulgarians give martenitsas to their friends and loved ones on March 1st to wish them good health.
What is a martenitsa? It is a small decoration usually made of red and white yarn. Some you wear on your clothes, some you wear tied on your wrist.
You leave it on until you see your first stork of the year (in Illinois, we would probably look for an alternative outdoor bird sighting -no fair looking at a picture of a stork...) Then you take the martenitsa off and attach it to a fruit bearing tree.
Here's how to make a simple bracelet martenitsa for your friend's wrist:
Cut a piece of red yarn and a piece of white yarn approximately the lengths of what it would take to wrap both pieces around your wrist twice. Tie them together at one end.
Have a friend hold the tied end (or hold it with your mouth.) Hold one color in each hand and pulling them taut, twist them both in the SAME direction. Then hold the two loose ends together, not letting go.
Now, let go of the knotted end, and they should twist around each other. (Snarls are likely to happen. Just pull on both ends and then let it twist the two strands more.)
It should eventually straighten out and make a twisted red and white strand. To finish your bracelet, tie the loose end, either directly to the other end, around your friend's wrist, or just having a knot at both ends.
Another simple martenitsa is two pom poms, or tassels, one red and one white, hanging from a bow.
Pictures of martenitsas are on the web:
Not many supplies are needed, and it has a good chance to work better than the current flu vaccine... Have fun!

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