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Bulgarian Martenitsa Tree in Australia and ...
Bulgarian Martenitsa Tree in Australia and ...

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Bulgarian Martenitsa Tree in Australia and ...
1 March 2011 - Brisbane, Australia

On Martenitza Day this year several cities around the globe will brighten up their squares with red and white Martenitza Trees. This project was initiated by an informal non-profit organisation of Bulgarian migrants in different countries who challenged all Bulgarian communities in the world to decorate a tree in every city on every continent for the traditional celebration of First of March, Baba Marta´s day. The main goals of the Project Martenitza are: sharing the ancient Bulgarian traditions with other cultures and creating a positive image for everything Bulgarian.

Marian Milanov is a Bulgarian artist who came up with the idea to decorate trees as martenitzas in 1992 and he has been wrapping trees in red and white fabric ever since. His beautiful martenitza trees in Varna sparked the international Project Martenitza. The first city beyond the Bulgarian borders to have its own Martenitza Tree is Brisbane, the capital of the Australian state Queensland. The Lord Mayor of Brisbane City, Campbell Newman, personally approved the initiative and the Project is proudly sponsored by Brisbane City Council. The central square, King George, will sparkle with bright red and white from First of March till the end of the week and dancers from the Bulgarian Dance Group ¨Horo¨ will be giving away martenitzas to pedestrians, with warm wishes for good health and prosperity.

Project Martenitza has developed a website with lots of articles, legends, photos and information in several languages about the ancient traditions related to the First of March celebrations in Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Greece and Albania. A photo competition is announced for the best picture of a Martenitza Tree.

The website has the ambition to gather information, photos, videos and audio materials for the creation of a documentary for Bulgarian National Television and Australian Television Network SBS with the hope that it will inspire interest in Bulgarian traditions and will create a positive image of Bulgaria around the world.

The second city to join the Project Martenitza was Christchurch, New Zealand but the devastating earthquake just a week before First of March not only destroyed the most beautiful New Zealand town and shattered peoples lives, it also made the tree decoration impossible. However, the Bulgarian community in Christchurch is determined to give its gift - the Martenitza tree - to Christchurch and its citizens as soon as the city begins to recover.

Meanwhile, another New Zealand City will take the place of Christchurch - Auckland is planning to decorate a Martenitza Tree in Marlborough Park on the North Shore. A workshop and open lesson about the Bulgarian traditions will be held under the tree for the young people.

Just a few days before Baba Marta´s Day another world city received permission to decorate a Martenitza Tree. Macao is frantically preparing to get ready for the big day.

Bulgarian towns didn´t stay behind. Tryavna is joining Project Martenitza and will greet Baba Marta shining in white and red.

For more information, to join the project or to participate in the photo competition, please visit: http://www.martenitza.org/, or join Project martenitza group on Facebook.

Izabela Shopova
Brisbane, Australia

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