Legends about the origin of the Bulgarian martenitsa are more than one, but they are all associated with the founder of Bulgaria – Khan Asparuh.
According to one legend Asparuh received a gift from his sister- a flower bouquet strapped to the leg of a swallow with white thread. The leg of the bird was hurt by the thread and part of the white woolen thread was colored red . It is said that the swallow arrived to Khan Asparuh exactly on March 1 as he was entering the territories of soon to be Bulgaria and to this day Bulgarians wear such threads on their wrists to symbolize health and prosperity and the creation of Bulgaria.
According to another legend the Bulgarian Khan Kubrat had five sons and a famously beautiful daughter – Huba. Before he died he asked his sons not to divide the land and keep Bulgaria whole. After his death however, the khans sons quickly forgot his wise advice. They devide the land and were defeated by the leader of the Huns Khan Ashina.
He seized their land and gold and took captive the beautiful Huba. The brothers went to look for new land and their sister was left to wait for news from them. The good news that her brothers had found new land arrived to her with the spring. Khan Asparuh sent her a letter in which he said that he had found paradise south of the Danube River and he and his soldiers intended to settle there. Huba was overjoyed and fled from captivity led by the falcon, whose leg was tied with a white silk thread.
The bird showed her the way to the new land, but at this moment she was crossing the river Danube an enemy arrow pierced her body and her blood stained thread. After receiving the news that his sister is finally with him, Asparuh began to pluck strings of white and red thread and to tie them to the hands of soldiers saying: „The thread that binds us together will not be interrupted ever. We will be healthy, we will be happy, we will be forever Bulgarians … from this day on- March 681 year. “