In costumes, embroidery is not just embroidery, it is an art that conveys messages for future generations. Various symbols are encoded in it, which were part of the life and culture of Bulgarians. Bulgarian embroidery is one of the most colorful on the Balkan Peninsula.
The symbolism of the embroidery concerns the wearer of the garment itself during his earthly life. Symbols of fertility, longevity, health and protection from evil forces are depicted, which is why they are depicted on men's and women's costumes. The beads are located at their ends to prevent evil spirits from entering the wearer. They are often found on the edges of shirts, because the sleeves are wide and from there evils can pass. Embroidery is also depicted on the necklines and skirts.
A large part of the embroidery motifs are directly related to the lifestyle and culture of the time when they were embroidered. Symbols are always positive to protect the wearer of the garment and never bad to not provoke evil forces, this is because the garment is in direct contact with the body and appears as a protective layer for the person wearing it. For each stage of a person's life, there are different motives. This difference is most easily made in women's costumes, because the symbols are different for the different periods of a woman's life - child, maiden, maiden, fiancee, bride, mother, widow. Motives in girls even differ before and after puberty. A maiden cannot wear a costume with motifs that are related to motherhood.
The color of the clothes also had a certain meaning. Many colors are used for Bulgarian costumes, but the main ones are red, green, yellow and white.
The color red symbolizes the mother's blood and new life. Guard against lessons and spells. The bride wore a red veil (this was done until 1920), and the newborn was in red diapers. The first Easter egg is also red. Now I also understand why many Bulgarians wear a red thread or bracelet nowadays.
The green color was an expression of eternal life and was associated with the Tree of Life - a symbol of the universe.
Yellow, on the other hand, was associated with the sun, fire, light, and when it came to the afterlife - with the deceased and with those people for whom success was predetermined.
The white color meant purity, inviolability, youthful innocence and God's light. To this day, as a result of Bulgarian traditions, the bride wears white. White wool was worn by the bride at the wedding ceremony.
MOST COMMONLY USED SYMBOLS
1.Tree of Life – Represents a three-tiered vertical symbol of our world. The crown symbolizes the Heavens - the upper world, the stem - the Earth, and the roots - the afterlife, which was the home of demons. It was believed that the Slavic sun god came down from the branches of the tree at a given moment to illuminate human life and mark the new beginning. This motif can still be seen on t-shirts and vests all over the country.
2. The Mother Goddess – This symbol is ancient and depicts a woman giving birth. It can be found in different versions, but it always means the same thing - the fertility of the woman who gives birth to children and continues the generation.
3. Broken cross – The broken cross is associated with the Slavic cult of the sun and fire and the deity Svarog. It appeared thousands of years ago, bringing hope for fertility, success, love, joy and prosperity.
4. The shackle - It is known as a symbol of the family. It was believed that it gives strength, brings harmony and balance to him. The various motifs can be seen embroidered on carpets, bedspreads, blankets and more. Today it can also be seen in the form of jewelry - lockets, rings and earrings.
Health, fertility in the family, plantations and chasing away evil spirits are the main themes of Bulgarian needlewomen.