White-painted bride honors Muslim that is bulgarian rite

White-painted bride honors Muslim that is bulgarian rite

RIBNOVO, Bulgaria (Reuters) – Fikrie Sabrieva, 17, will marry along with her eyes shut along with her face painted white, dotted with bright sequins. She lives ‘at the finish of this world’, tending a hardy muslim tradition in mostly Christian Bulgaria.

Kiddies view the marriage ceremony of Moussa Babechki and Fikrie Sabrieva into the town of Ribnovo, when you look at the Rhodope Mountains, some 210km (130miles) south of Sofia 13, 2008 january. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

The remote town of Ribnovo, set for a mountainside that is snowy southwest Bulgaria, has held its old-fashioned wintertime marriage service alive despite decades of Communist persecution, accompanied by poverty that forced a lot of men to find work abroad.

“Other nearby villages tried the conventional wedding after the ban had been lifted, then again the custom somehow died away — ladies wanted become contemporary, ” said Ali Mustafa Bushnak, 61, whoever child arrived to look at Fikrie’s wedding.

“Maybe our company is by the end associated with the entire world. Or individuals in Ribnovo have become spiritual and proud of these traditions. ”

Some experts state clinging towards the conventional marriage ceremony is Ribnovo’s reply to the persecutions of history.

Bulgaria could be the European that is only Union where Muslims’ share can be as high as 12 %. The communist regime, which would not tolerate any south-korea brides spiritual rituals, tried to forcibly integrate Muslims into Bulgaria’s largely Christian Orthodox populace, pushing them to abandon using their old-fashioned outfits and adopt Slavonic names.

The marriage ritual ended up being resurrected with vitality on the list of Pomaks — Slavs whom transformed into Islam under Ottoman rule and make up 2.5 now per cent of Bulgaria’s 7.8 million populace — after communism collapsed in 1989.

But today it’s still done just into the society that is closed of and another other town into the Balkan nation. Teenagers get back from abroad to your mountain that is crisp, only for winter months weddings.

Individuals in Ribnovo identify themselves more by their faith, as Muslims, than by their nationality or ethnicity, plus the marriage ceremony is a manifestation of the piety. The village has 10 clerics and two mosques for 3,500 inhabitants.


Fikrie’s family are laboriously turning up her dowry since she was created — mostly handmade knit-work, quilts, coverlets, sheets, aprons, socks, floor coverings.

On a sunny Saturday wintertime early morning they hang those items on a scaffolding that is wooden 50 meters very very long and three meters high, erected particularly for the event regarding the high, dirty road of scruffy two-storey homes that results in her home.

Most people within the town involves examine the offerings: Fikrie’s tiny homeyard has been changed into a showroom for the household and furniture devices the bride needs to give her new home.

The girl along with her husband-to-be, Moussa, 20, then lead a conventional horo party on the main square, joined by a lot of the village’s youth.

However the highlight regarding the ceremony, the artwork regarding the bride’s face, comes by the end associated with the day that is second.

In a personal rite available and then feminine in-laws, Fikrie’s face is covered in dense, chalky white paint and decorated with colorful sequins. An extended red veil covers her hair, her mind is framed with tinsel, her painted face veiled with and silvery filaments.

Clad in baggy jeans and bodice shimmering in most the colors associated with rainbow, the bride is presented by her husband to be, her mom along with her grandmother to your waiting audience.

Fikrie isn’t allowed to start her eyes wide until a Muslim priest blesses the young few. Liquor is forbidden during the wedding receptions and intercourse before marriage is taboo.


Ethnographers state it’s difficult to date the painting that is bridal, while the communist regime failed to encourage studies into minority cultural and spiritual teams.

“It is extremely likely that it’s an invented tradition. An associate professor at the Ethnography Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Science it’s their way to express who they are, ” said Margarita Karamihova.

Specialists say Pomaks had identification issues and encountered more challenges as compared to bulk of Muslims in Bulgaria, who’re cultural Turks.

“In the 1960s they’d ban Islamic music at weddings, they will never enable conventional garments, as well as in the 1980s, the entire conventional Pomak wedding had been prohibited, ” said municipality mayor, Ahmed Bashev, created in Ribnovo.

Ribnovo’s inhabitants utilized which will make a full time income from tobacco and farming, but low incomes within the poorest EU country forced men to start out looking for jobs in metropolitan areas in Bulgaria or perhaps in western Europe — maybe not minimum to increase cash for a marriage.

Outside impacts have already been sluggish to achieve Ribnovo and people that are young marry an outsider. Another Fikrie, 19-year-old Fikrie Inuzova, advised the ladies, for who the appropriate age that is bridal as much as 22, aren’t in a hurry to modernize.

“My bro wants traveling, look at globe. It’s different for guys. They could do whatever. I do want to remain right right here and marry. ”

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