Charshiya Gatherings

Our virtual Marketplace hosts online opportunities to create, meet up, and “talk shop” with our exhibitors and friends. 


Live Workshop Friday Jan 15, 6pm EST (UTC-5).   

Zoom Meeting ID: 889 4644 3671 Passcode: 193490

Plus: “How-to” video available anytime Friday – Saturday, Jan. 15 + 16

Golden Festival and Young Bulgarian Voices New York open the festival with their annual Martenitsa Make-along Workshop

Join our special Zoom event for “kids of all ages” to meet and create at 6 pm on Friday.    

If you can’t attend, a “how-to” video link is posted below, which you can access at anytime during the festival.      

Martenitsi bracelets and amulets, made of red and white yarn, are braided and worn throughout the month of March to ensure luck and health. Fun variants include tassels, pompoms, and tassel dolls (named “Pizho and Penda”).

This tradition exists not only in Bulgaria, but throughout the Balkans and Eastern Europe.  During the month of March, it’s worn in Bulgaria to appease the cantankerous Baba Marta; she must be honored in order to usher in spring weather.   Once the month is over, tie it to a flowering tree to encourage it to bloom!        

Other names for these friendship bracelets include mărţişor (Romanian and Moldovan), martis (Greek), martinka (Macedonian), martenica (Serbian), and verorja (Albania and Kosova).

In order for the magic to work, however, you must make your martenitsi for others, and give them away on March 1, Baba Marta’s Day. Start braiding now! We can all use a boost of good health, luck and optimism!

Presenters: Yana Kalinkova and Meglena Zapreva

Supplies you’ll need:

1 skein red yarn
1 skein white yarn
Crewel (yarn) needle
Beads with large holes (optional) – blue beads are especially lucky!
Safety pin
Cardboard (9”x 9” square)

WATCH HERE (no sign-up required):


Saturday Jan 16, 7pm EST (UTC-5). 

Zoom Meeting ID: 831 4974 7547 Passcode: 504776

In the towns and villages of Southeastern Europe, the Mediterranean islands, and Anatolia, women gather to create the fabric of life – clothing, household linens, bridal trousseau objects – while sharing news, gossip, stitches, and song.    In Slavic-speaking parts of the Balkans, these gatherings are called sedenke, though the tradition spans regions and languages.  

Whether in cottages or courtyards, in gardens, on porches, in neighborhood coffeehouses or elegant divan rooms, such meetings connected communities and generations, fostering the continuity of textile arts.  

Our (non-gender-specific!) Virtual Sedenka will bring together artisans who work in varied media – from yarn-spinning to embroidery, lace, beadwork, crochet, weaving and ceremonial garments, and contemporary techniques such as fabric painting — to discuss their arts, answer your questions, and teach work songs.

After each of our artisans makes a short presentation, we will continue the party in the Studios.   These will be breakout rooms for each artisan where you can visit with them, watch a longer demonstration, or just talk.

[NOTE: If you want to be able to join the Studios, please check that you have the Zoom software on your device and that it is version 5.3.0 or higher (for ChromeOS, 5.0.0) – you can learn how to check the version here and how to update it here.]

You’re invited to join the party!   Bring along your own project to work on.   Show us what you’ve been learning and creating over the past year.   Or just stop by to hang out.    

If you don’t have a project, Avlea (see Charshiya Market page) is offering colorful “BitKits” to start you on your own embroidery journey (including a kit designed especially for Golden Fest 2021).     Or practice your martenitsi-making skills after attending the Young Bulgarian Voices’ workshop (see above).

Presenters: Afi Kodra, Donka Koleva, Krista West, Martha Forsyth, Matt Olsen, Meri Movsisyan, Miriam Milgram, Pat Iverson, Ylvia Asal


Saturday Jan 16, 10:00pm EST (UTC-5).    Note updated time.

Zoom Meeting ID: 884 6382 9606 Passcode: 676436


Boza is a grain-based, probiotic beverage with a long history in Anatolia and Southeastern Europe.    It recalls sweet memories of domestic hospitality, neighborhood pastry shops, and sonorous street vendors.   

It’s considered a fortifying winter beverage in Turkey.   A summer refresher in the Balkans.  

It can be made from almost any grain (with regional and personal preferences) – sipped or spooned, fresh/sweet, or soured to push the alcohol a bit.    Some makers prefer to cultivate a wild yeast starter, others claim success with dried bread yeast.    

Some visitors to the Balkans fall in love at first taste.  Others find it grows on them.  And some never acquire a taste for it.   That’s OK…It’s the stuff of stories, songs, folk belief and strong opinions!  

Our international panel of seasoned bozadjie (and rookies) will share production tips, variations, techniques and tales.   Try the well-tested home recipes (below) before the festival.   Join the conversation! 

If you’re not happy with your result, no waste! – repurpose your boza into starter for rye bread or batter for palačinke.  (American sourdough is just *sooooo* 2020).

Presenters: Ethan Frisch, Alida Malushi, Bob Beer, Dan Hirschi, Indira Skoric 

If you want to expand your culinary repertoire this winter, perfect your current version, or are just curious…check it out.      BYOBoza!

Boza Recipes:

Boza Videos:

Where to buy boza ready-made (call for availability) – for those who want to sample or use as
starter culture:

  • NYC:   Parrot Coffee Astoria (31-12 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria NY 11105 –- 718-545-7920) locally-made
  • NJ:   Eterna Tea & Coffee (131 Crooks Ave, Paterson NJ 07503 -– 973-523-4999) house-made
  • OH:  PV Euro Market (4805 W. Pleasant Valley Rd., Parma OH 44129 — 440-888-0262 — They sell (and ship retail) bottled Maritsa brand boza, ‘microbrewed’ by Boza Brewery in Cleveland.    Boza Brewery (216-741-0871) also sells wholesale by the case.  

Thanks to Eva Salina for the use of her recording of Šaban Bajramović’s Boza Limunada, from her album Lema Lema.   

Guidelines for Charshiya Gatherings:

1.     You will be muted during the presentation(s.) The host/cohosts will ask you to unmute when it’s the time for “questions from the floor” or general socializing.
2.     You can use the Chat to communicate with the host/cohosts and other participants.
·       If your message is for a specific person, please address it to that person rather than “Everyone”
·       If you are having a technical issue, please address your chat directly to “_Moderator”
3.     Please refrain from using offensive, vulgar, or inappropriate language.  The host/cohosts have full discretion to mute, turn off video, or remove participants from the session as needed.
4.     Please do not bring up politics or religion, this is not the time or place for it.
5.     Don’t forget to have fun!!