White-painted bride honors Bulgarian Muslim rite

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White-painted bride honors Bulgarian Muslim rite

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

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

The remote town of Ribnovo, set for a snowy mountainside in southwest Bulgaria, has held its conventional cold temperatures wedding service alive despite decades of Communist persecution, followed closely by poverty that forced lots of men to look for work abroad.

“Other nearby villages tried the conventional wedding after the ban ended up being 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 at the conclusion associated with entire world. Or individuals in Ribnovo have become spiritual and proud of these traditions.”

Some specialists state clinging towards the old-fashioned wedding party is Ribnovo’s reply to the persecutions regarding the past.

Bulgaria may be the European that is only Union where Muslims’ share can be as high as 12 per cent. The regime that is communist which failed to tolerate any spiritual rituals, tried to forcibly integrate Muslims into Bulgaria’s mostly Christian Orthodox populace, pressing them to abandon putting on their old-fashioned outfits and adopt Slavonic names.

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

But today it’s still done just within the shut culture of Ribnovo and another other town 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 faith, as Muslims, than by their nationality or ethnicity, while the wedding service is a manifestation of the piety. The town has 10 clerics and two mosques for 3,500 inhabitants.

DOWRY in DISPLAY

Fikrie’s family members have now been laboriously turning 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 the things on a scaffolding that is wooden 50 meters very very long and three meters high, erected especially for the event in the steep, dirty road of scruffy two-storey homes that results in her house.

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

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

Nevertheless the highlight associated with the ceremony, the artwork associated with bride’s face, comes at the conclusion of this day that is second.

In a rite that is private simply to female in-laws, Fikrie’s face is covered in dense, chalky white paint and decorated with colorful sequins. An extended 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 most the colors for the rainbow, the bride is presented by her husband to be, her mom and her grandmother into the crowd that is waiting.

Fikrie is certainly not allowed to open up her eyes wide until a Muslim priest blesses the young few. Alcohol is forbidden during the wedding receptions and intercourse before wedding is taboo.

BANNED RITUALS

Ethnographers state its difficult to date the bridal painting ritual, while the communist regime would not encourage studies into minority cultural and religious teams.

“It is extremely most likely that it’s a tradition that is invented. It’s their method to show who they really are,” said Margarita Karamihova, a co-employee teacher during the Ethnography Institute associated with the Bulgarian Academy of Science.

Professionals state Pomaks had identification dilemmas and encountered more challenges as compared to bulk of Muslims in Bulgaria, that are cultural Turks.

“In the 1960s they might ban music that is islamic weddings, chances are they will never allow conventional garments, plus in the 1980s, the entire conventional Pomak wedding had been prohibited,” said municipality mayor, Ahmed Bashev, created in Ribnovo.

Ribnovo’s inhabitants used which will make a living from tobacco and agriculture, but low incomes within the EU country that is poorest forced men to begin looking for jobs in towns and cities in Bulgaria or in western Europe — not minimum to improve cash for a marriage.

Outside influences have already been sluggish to achieve Ribnovo and people that are young marry an outsider. Another Fikrie, 19-year-old Fikrie Inuzova, proposed the ladies, for who the appropriate age that is bridal up to 22, aren’t pretty quickly to modernize.

“My bro wants to visit, start to see the globe. It’s different for males. They are able to do whatever. I wish to remain right latvian bride here and marry.”

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