Martenitza – a lovely tradition supported by AES Bulgaria


Encouraging talent and promoting Bulgarian culture are among the pillars of company’s CSR program


Do you know that there is a tradition that unites Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Romania and Moldova? It is a tradition that can be traced back to the ancient times and is still so vivid and powerful that even today it brightens Bulgaria’s cold February streets with a splash of color. In the last days of February all around Bulgaria people will see everywhere small red and white woolen decorations. These are marteniza. Their appearance on the streets is a sign that Spring is near. Bulgarians begin celebrating the start of the season on the 1st of March by tying martenitza around their wrists and to their clothes. People wear the adornment until they can reach the twig of a blooming tree upon which they can hang it; to bring them health and prosperity for the future.

Production of these marteniza has become a nationwide activity, embraced by the whole society.

Without a doubt, the most cherished handcrafted martenizas are made by children. Bulgarian youngsters enthusiastically support and revive the tradition every year.

AES Bulgaria is among the companies who support this lovely tradition by organizing a contest for the marteniza produced by the schoolkids of Galabovo – this is where our state-of-the-art thermal power plant is. The creativity of the children is so impressive that their masterpieces are displayed in the offices of the President, the Speaker of the Parliament, the Prime-Minister and the Ministers.

For the past 12 years in a row, AES Bulgaria has been supporting the creativity and artistic talent of the children of Galabovo with this contest. Our initiative has become so popular that in 2020 AES Bulgaria received requests from parents to publish pictures of marteniza made by their children. In 2020, AES Bulgaria therefore established this new tradition to help nurture talent, and to enable it to be recognized and rewarded not only by leaders of the country, but also by more than 3 million Bulgarians via social media. We are proud to support this recognition. It is in line with our company’s community engagement priorities to promote local traditions. The DNA of AES is global but with strong local roots. As of next year, AES Bulgaria will start a nation-wide marteniza competition to encourage young Bulgarians to express their talent and to guarantee that this vital tradition continues.

Encouraging talent and promoting Bulgarian culture is only one of the pillars of our CSR program. We have invested more than 14 million leva in corporate responsibility activities. These programs paved the way to great local initiatives enhancing education, sports and other activities to promote youth development.