Home ENGLISH COLOUR SYMBOLISM: Bulgarian Tricolor & Martenitsa

COLOUR SYMBOLISM: Bulgarian Tricolor & Martenitsa


Материалът на български виж  ТУК.
The material is part of the publication “Bright Sparks in the Aura of Bulgaria

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The Bulgarian Tricolor
white – green – red

Translation: Neil Scarth

One may come across countless tales and treatises concerning the symbolism of Bulgarian tricolor and even more about the martenitsa. Here we will dwell on the esoteric point of view given by the extracts below, by an author who is unknown to us but with whom we are in full agreement. And when we consider things in the light of such an understanding, we will see that the Bulgarian tricolor turns out to be unique in the world in terms of its composition according to the rules of Divine Harmony: material (at the bottom), Soul (in the middle) and Divine Spirit (at the top). / the Editor, Ralie Blag

White light is broken down into seven basic colours – it contains all of them in itself. The harmonious merging of the colours of the rainbow in white light symbolises the world of the Divine and is the end of the rainbow, that is the end of human evolution. The centre of the rainbow is taken up by the colour green, the symbol of spring and life being eternally reborn in nature and the human soul. It also symbolises the human being itself as a creature of intellect. At the other end of the light spectrum is the colour red: red like the blood of humans and all other living flesh in a manner of speaking. This is the colour with the greatest wavelength in the spectrum visible to humans. It symbolises life and the flesh, the physical body and the material world as a whole.

In 1877, at the time of the battles for liberation from the Turkish Yoke, Stilyana Paraskevova sewed the flag for part of the volunteer forces, which served later as the prototype of the Bulgarian national flag, and asked her father why the colours should be arranged in this way. He pointed out to her that the soul of a person is a kind of ‘middle-ground’ – a kind of intermediary between spirit and the biological body it inhabits, and so the colour green ought to be positioned in the middle between the white and the red. Apart from that, white should be at the top just as the pure Divine Spirit is above everything and itself encompasses everything and everyone. The colours have to be arranged according to ancient rules so that when a Bulgarian sees the Bulgarian flag he will see his soul embodied in its green colour, his blood and bloodline in the red and the Divine Spirit, which leads him in his destiny, in the colour white.



The Martenitsa

Translation: Neil Scarth

The Bulgarian celebration of the Martenitsa is unique and deeply symbolic*. It is given as a gift with the onset of spring in March, i.e. with the resurrection of nature into new life. It consists of two parts: a red and white tassel linked to each other by way of a small length of string of red and white threads entwined. The white and red colours are symbols of spiritual and material energies respectively. The small length of string between them is a highly important detail which shows that the energies of the material and spiritual world are united. The connecting level, the ‘middle-ground’, is the human soul and is symbolised by the person themselves adorned with the Martenitsa. **


* It has been preserved in variations here and there outside the present day borders of Bulgaria as a result of ethnic presence.

** With regard to the Martenitsa, it’s interesting to note that the same colour symbolism can be observed in the royal insignia of ancient Egypt. The crown of Upper Egypt (associated with the divine) is white, whereas that of Lower Egypt (the earthly) is red. When the two kingdoms joined around 3000 BC, the crown became a composite of the two, with the red one as the base and the white shown above it. Amongst the ancient gods of Egypt, Horus is also portrayed with the Egyptian double crown (or with the sun’s disc above his head) and it is thought that the pharaonic dynasties trace their genealogy back to him and for this reason his name always stands before the name of each pharaoh.

In the Bulgarian folk song ‘Lichena-Dena-Lestuvichina-Dena’ from the Veda Slovena[1] the Martenitsa is in fact referred to as ‘Marinka’ in two places.


[1] The whole title is: “Veda Slevena of Bulgarian folk songs from prehistoric and pre-Christian era”. It is a collection of folk songs published by the Bosnian Croat Stefan Verkovich in two volumes in 1874 and 1881 – just around the time of Bulgarian libaration from the Turkish Yoke.


Horus with the double crown

The founder of the Pan-Bulgarian Legion BOLGARI[1] Emil Andreev gives an interesting interpretation of the meaning embodied in the word ‘Marinka’ by using the ancient meaning of its constituent syllables, namely:

Ma – to give birth
(the words ‘mom, momma, mother’ in English are very close in terms of  pronunciation as they are in many other languages; “mama, mayka” in Bulgarian)
Ar – person, man | mentality
(aryan; Bulg-ar-yan | bulg > bolh > bog in Bulgarian means god)
In – material | the Earth
(from Yen and Yuan harmony)
Ka – soul | divine vital energy in us

Thus, he concludes, the meaning encapsulated in our adorning each other with Martenitsas is the desire of a being, born in the bosom of Earth, to find its way towards its soul and to transform into Horus, that is Christ on Earth, the spiritual sovereign.


[1] This title is an abbreviation and for this reason is written in capital letters.


A portrayal of Ramses III with the white Egyptian crown




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