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 and her face painted white, dotted with bright sequins. She lives ‘at the conclusion associated with the world’, tending a hardy muslim tradition in mostly Christian Bulgaria.

Kids view the marriage ceremony of Moussa Babechki and Fikrie Sabrieva within the village of Ribnovo, into the Rhodope Mountains, some 210km (130miles) south of Sofia January 13, 2008. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

The remote town of Ribnovo, set on a mountainside that is snowy southwest Bulgaria, has held its conventional cold temperatures wedding ceremony alive despite decades of Communist persecution, followed closely by poverty that forced a lot of men to find work abroad.

“Other nearby villages tried the old-fashioned wedding after the ban ended up being lifted, however the custom somehow died away — ladies wanted become contemporary, ” said Ali Mustafa Bushnak, 61, whoever daughter arrived to view Fikrie’s wedding.

“Maybe our company is at the conclusion for the whole world. Or people in Ribnovo have become proud and religious of these traditions. ”

Some professionals state clinging to the conventional wedding party is Ribnovo’s response to the persecutions of history.

Bulgaria could be the only eu country where Muslims’ share is really as high as 12 per cent. The communist regime, which would not tolerate any spiritual rituals, tried to forcibly integrate Muslims into Bulgaria’s mostly Christian Orthodox populace, pressing them to abandon using their conventional outfits and adopt Slavonic names.

The marriage ritual ended up being resurrected with vitality on the list of Pomaks — Slavs whom changed into Islam under Ottoman guideline 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 when you look at the society that is closed of and something other village within the Balkan nation. Teenage boys get back from abroad to your mountain that is crisp, only for the wintertime weddings.

Individuals in Ribnovo identify on their own more by their religion, as Muslims, than by their nationality or ethnicity, plus the wedding party is a manifestation of the piety. The town has 10 clerics and two mosques for 3,500 inhabitants.


Fikrie’s family members have now been laboriously mounting up her dowry since she was created — mostly handmade knit-work, quilts, coverlets, sheets, aprons, socks, floor coverings.

On a sunny Saturday cold temperatures morning they hang those items for a wood scaffolding, 50 meters very very long and three meters high, erected especially for the occasion regarding the high, dirty road of scruffy two-storey homes that results in her home.

Most people when you look at the town comes to inspect the offerings: Fikrie’s tiny homeyard has been converted into a showroom for the household and furniture devices the bride needs to give her brand brand brand new household.

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

However the highlight of this ceremony, the artwork associated with the bride’s face, comes by the end of this 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. A lengthy belarus girls dating red veil covers her locks, her mind is framed with tinsel, her painted face veiled with and silvery filaments.

Clad in baggy jeans and bodice shimmering in every the colors associated with the 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 open up her eyes wide until a Muslim priest blesses the young couple. Liquor is forbidden during the wedding receptions and intercourse before wedding is taboo.


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

“It is quite most likely it is 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 state Pomaks had identification issues and encountered more challenges compared to bulk of Muslims in Bulgaria, that are cultural Turks.

“In the 1960s they might ban Islamic music at weddings, chances are they will never enable old-fashioned garments, as well as in the 1980s, the entire old-fashioned Pomak wedding was prohibited, ” said municipality mayor, Ahmed Bashev, created in Ribnovo.

Ribnovo’s inhabitants used in order to make a full time income from tobacco and farming, but low incomes within the EU country that is poorest forced men to begin searching for jobs in towns and cities in Bulgaria or perhaps in western Europe — maybe not minimum to increase cash for a marriage.

Outside impacts were 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 pretty quickly to modernize.

“My sibling wants to visit, begin to see the globe. It’s different for males. They could do any. I do want to remain right right here and marry. ”

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