The most popular and ancient motif in Bulgarian embroidery is the Elbetitca ornament that originates from the old Elbetitca symbol of harmony and power. Harmony in body, mind, soul and spirit. Power to use these four in the name of the Good in the World.
This is a double cross that marks the eight directions of the world and the most important solar positions - the winter and summer solstices, the spring and autumn equinoxes and the four positions between them. These eight rays are crossed in a stable center and symbolize the cycle in nature and the world. Elbetitca is a female word also connected with the Mother Goddess and the Earth planet. ( in other cultures at some other times named " Pachamama")
In essence, this ornament is one of the most ancient images of the solar calendars and exists as a symbol in almost all major ancient religions.
The element "elbetitca" has remained as a motif in the embroidery of the people who still inhabit the lands where the old Bulgarians (proto-Bulgarians) settled for a long time and created states.
Unlike modernity, in ancient times the decoration (embroidery) on clothes, towels, carpets, had not only decorative and aesthetic value and purpose. Her motifs encoded messages of harmony in the family, home and community, it contained symbols of health, fertility and prosperity.
Elbetitca has an energetic (magical) protective function and protects from diseases and bad influences (envy, shaytayan eyes, etc.) the person who wears it on his clothes.
Embroidered on face and hand towels and tablecloths (mesals), it is designed to preserve harmony, love, prosperity and the multiplication of the family or the clan. This symbol has the same role when it is woven into the carpets or depicted on the ritual holiday breads.
Elbetitca is also depicted on votive and tombstone stone crosses, which are still found in the Bulgarian lands.
Тhe Еlbetica figure appeared in the Middle East, Anatolia and the Balkans during the Neolithic. It participates in the sign systems of the following epochs and reaches our days in the Bulgarian traditional culture as a carpet and embroidery motif, the figure has different names and its roots are mysterious. Its meaning can be defined as elem-beht - the first-eight, ie the eight directions in one, or rodjeta, and also with many other names for which scientists are looking for clarification.
There are various theories about the symbolism woven into this symbol. Generally speaking, the elbetica symbolizes harmony.
The two crosses conditionally represent the four main and the four additional directions of the world (north, south, west, east, northwest, northeast, southwest, and southeast), merging into a common stable center that keeps them in sync.In the different ways of making the elbetica, four heads are arranged around a middle image, separated by four plant forms.
The original purpose of the jewelry and in particular of the metal buckles on the belts of the women's Bulgarian folk costume is similar.
They were worn as protection precisely in the places of the human body through which it was believed that unclean forces and spirits could penetrate.
These are almost the same places, called chakras by far South Eastern people, and through which, according to them, the exchange between human and cosmic energy takes place.
This is how the idea of the cycle of nature is interpreted - winter - north, summer - south, spring - east, autumn - west.
The double cross (elbetitca) was later most often embroidered on priestly clothes, placed on orders that were only for privileged rulers (ruler's rings are usually decorated with a cross, fire lilies, mosaic icon, inscription "Ex oriente lux "-" From the east is the light "). The root of the symbol is attested in the first Bulgarian kingdom tradition, where the title bagatur was found. Then the symbol was used as an embodiment of power.
The embroideries are depicted in different colors, each of which has a certain symbolism.
Blood and war - peace and love.
It symbolizes the mother's blood and new life. Beware of lessons and spells.
Mother Earth - the new life.
An expression of eternal life and associated with the Tree of Life - a symbol of the universe.
Purity - youth, innocence.
It means purity, inviolability, youthful innocence and God's light.
The sky and the sea - perfect purity.
It depicts the sky, space and water. It embodies truth and trust, purity, serenity and contemplation. He is the color of angels.
Yellow - gold
Sun - joy and merriment.
Mother Earth - winter.
Elbetitsa is a symbol symbolizing harmony and understanding, also known as the rosette.
Over time, it has been modified and highly stylized, significantly changing its original appearance and becoming our well-known Elbetitca, or The double star. The rosette is associated with reverence for the sun and contains a message of health, prosperity and blessings. In the culture of the proto-Bulgarians we find the Elbetitca in the title "bagatur" as a symbol of strength and power. The name comes from the phrase elem-beht, which means the first eight, ie. the eight directions of the world.
Another magical symbol is the " Kanatitca" - the symbol of the family which we can look at.... the next time :)