Weird wedding traditions Part 2

Have you ever heard of Pomaks? They are a Slavic Muslim nation living in Bulgaria, northeastern Greece and northwestern Turkey- natives of Thracia. They are ethnic Bulgarians who converted to Islam under Ottoman rule.

There is a village in Bulgaria, Ribnovo where 3500 Pomaks live. They return from Israel, Germany and Great Britain where they have jobs and get married in winter.


Men should not see the painting of bride’s face which is slapped by two aunts. This is followed by colorful sequins in forms of flowers. The process of decorating the face with white paint (belilo) and jewels is called gelina which can take hours. Some think the white paint symbolizes purity. Red veil and tinsel garlands make her look like a doll.


The bride has to keep her eyes closed during the whole ceremony. Guy Martin explains she does so since she will not return home. She is allowed to look through only a small hand mirror until the imam marries the couple. Two day nuptials, Saturday and Sunday start with displaying the bride’s dowry on street. Saturday evening the bride and her friends may paint their hands with henna.

They do not have Slavonic names and ”Pomak” means ”people who have suffered.”

Refat Avdikov, 21, took his bride home and washed her face with milk. He was proud of their rare traditions.

Alcohol is forbidden.



These are Selve Kuivashi and her husband Jamal Vurdal.


This is Emilia Pochinkova’s Pomak wedding exhibition in a remote village in Bulgaria, Draginovo.



Bulgarian minority honours age-old wedding rites. (2014, Feb. 17). Retrieved from

Kuruvilla, C. (2016, April 29). Stunning Images Of A Bulgarian Muslim Bride Reviving Old traditions. Retrieved from

Little, B. (2016, April 27). These Photos Transport You to a Muslim Wedding in Europe. Retrieved from



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