For many businesses in the UK, this Spring is one to be celebrated more eagerly than most. After a winter of storms and flooding which experts predict could knock £14bn or 1% off GDP, many businesses will be looking forward the calmer days of spring, and the much-heralded economic recovery which many expect to begin in earnest in 2014.
The celebration of Spring’s arrival is nothing new. Across the world it takes many forms. Here, at 60K, we follow the Bulgarian tradition, known as Martenitsa. This centuries-old festival sees Bulgarians give red-and-white interwoven strings to friends in the hope that it will bring them health and happiness during the year and is a reminder that spring is near.
From water throwing to scrambled eggs
Elsewhere it is celebrated very differently. In Japan Shunbun no Hi sees people visiting family and remembering those who are no longer with us. In Iran the first day of spring is known as Nowruz, and it is marked by families gathering around a table set with seven items that represent different hopes and virtues for the coming year such as rebirth, love, health and patience.
In India and Thailand the Spring is visited in a more messy way. India’s Holi Festival sees businesses shut down and the streets filled with dancing, singing, and people throwing coloured powder and water at one another. Thailand’s Songkran is marked by the public throwing of water.
At the ancient Mayan city of Chichén Itzá in central Yucatan, Mexico, a centuries-old shadow show enthrals visitors. The Mayans built a central staircase so that in the late afternoon on the Spring equinox shadows fall and look like a snake is slithering down the temple steps.
In Europe celebrations seem more food-based. The cheese-rolling down a Gloucester hillside attracts bemused spectators from around the world, while in Bosnia the first day of Spring is marked by the creation and then eating of a giant bowl of scrambled eggs.
For Bulgarians, the arrival of Spring is celebrated with the exchange of Martenitsi, twined threads of red and white material and the celebration of Baba Marta Day. In Bulgarian folklore Baba Marta is a grumpy old woman who changes her mood very rapidly, so it is fitting that her Day coincides with the arrival of changeable Spring weather. Bearing the red and white colors of the Martenitsa our predecessors asked Baba Marta for mercy. They hoped that it will make winter pass faster and bring Spring.
A fresh start
However it is marked, we believe it is an important time for businesses to take stock and evaluate progress. At 60K we have been making space amongst our Martenitsi for our new awards: two Bronze Stevie’s that we picked up in Las Vegas for our work with Sky Broadband and Thomas Cook. We are also thinking about how far we have come in the six short years since our inception in 2008, and where we plan to go in the years to come.
According to legend the tradition of Martenitsa was inspired by the early Bulgarian leader Khan Asparuh, who sent a white string to his wife to tell her he had survived a battle. 60K’s journey to this point has not been a battle, but it has involved a great deal of hard work by many people.
We look forward to continuing that journey, to adding to our team of around 600 highly educated and motivated agents, and to helping more companies such as Sky Broadband and Thomas Cook with their technical and customer support. At the days lengthen and the sun emerges to fill the streets of Sofia with warmth, we at 60K are eagerly anticipating our future.