Unique Bulgarian culture wedding of Refat Atipov and Fatme Robova

By , August 12, 2016 11:08 am

Refat Atipov and Fatme Robova are married in the midst of a festival of gifts and colors in Ribnovo, a tiny village located on the top of the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria. The community is populated with a few thousand Pomaks, i.e. the Bulgarian-speaking Muslims. They share a unique and rich culture.
Boryana Katsarova took pictures of that wedding ceremony, a two-day event that devotes a day each to the families of both the groom and the bride. Fatme is dressed in traditional dress along with face paint popularly known as “gelina.” Katsarova said that just other communities practice this ritual and this design is specific to Ribnovo. Everyone is waiting for this moment. She is the heart of the ceremony.
The whole face-painting procedure, which is a symbol of the purity of the bride, might take up to 2 hours. It is undoubtedly a specialized art. There are just handful of women in the village, who know how to paint brides.
Harvesting is their primary income source. Every day, they all work in fields. Winter is the wedding season in Ribnovo, while they work at other times. At times, as many as ten weddings take place in a winter season. The families start to celebrate when showing starts.
The first day of the ceremony belongs to the family of the bride, who is presented to the groom on the second day. Some weddings are arranged, but not in Refat Atipov and Fatme Robova’s case.

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