There were two holidays this week in Bulgaria. The first one was called "Baba Marta." It stands for "Grandma March," and it takes place on March 1st. Bulgarians wear red and white (usually in the form of a yarn bracelet or tassels) to celebrate the coming of spring. The significance of the colors has been given many meanings, but my favorite is that it represents the two moods of Grandma March. (Because March can be both hot and cold.)
At the first sign of spring (often the return of the storks) the bracelets are removed. They can be hung on a tree, thrown in a river (now thawed of course), or placed under a rock.
The other holiday was an official government holiday on March 3rd. This is a very big national holiday in Bulgaria as it celebrates the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. It is similar to our 4th of July in the US, but without the grilling of hamburgers and brats. (I also did not see any fireworks.) Sofia has a lot less people in it as many have gone out of town for the long weekend. It is very nice for those driving through town as the traffic has been next to nothing.