Even after years spent under Communist rule, Muslims in Bulgaria, namely, Pomaks, who are ethic Slavs and adopted Islam during Ottoman times, remember their traditions.
The mountain village of Ribnovo in southwest Bulgaria has kept its traditional winter marriage ceremony alive despite decades of Communist persecution.
The wedding ritual was revived among the Pomaks, ethnic Slavs who converted to Islam under Ottoman rule.
The day before the ceremony, the bride’s family traditionally displays her dowry up - mostly handmade quilts, sheets, aprons, socks, carpets, and rugs - for other villagers to check on the offerings.
"Traditional weddings in Ribnovo have always taken place like this. They were revived after the fall of communism and started to flourish. Because during communist times, our music, religious rites, and the costumes that the people in Ribnovo wore were all banned. This was an obstacle for us to live with our ideas and traditions. But for 30 years now, everything has been going well, which is very good," says the mayor.
THUMBNAIL AND HEADLINE IMAGES: Bulgarian Muslim bride Kimile Avdinova has makeup applied to her face during her wedding ceremony in the village of Ribnovo, in the Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria, January 2, 2022. (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov)