The last few days the whole city was turning red and white. In the Netherlands that would usually mean that some soccer team is playing an important match. Not on the Balkans (Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania). Here it is a pagan tradition related to the transformation from winter to spring. It is called Martenitsa in Bulgaria, and Mărţişor in Romania and Moldova. Friends give each other red and white dolls, bracelets or other tokens in red (sun, or Mars) and white (snow or peace) on 1 March.
The colours signify the fight between the snow and the sun. The transition from winter to spring. The tokens are meant to give luck and healh to the people wearing them.
Interestingly enough Sofia saw its first snow this season on 27 February. And it instantly disappeared. The temperature was rising above 10 degrees again today, the sun already seems to have won even before Martenitsa started.