Monday, June 5, 2023
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Pomac Matthew Rich Mamus

The windows of the café vibrate to the rhythm of the bass played by an impressive sound system installed in the center of the village of Ribnovo in southern Bulgaria.
The volume is almost unbearable, when the drums of the parade suddenly compete with them.
Reikhan and Nevse appeared surrounded by a dozen people.

Crossed over their busts with ribbons fixed with levs (Bulgarian currency) and euros. For two days, the young pomaks (Muslims in the mountains in the south of the country) have been the focus of villagers’ attention: They want a traditional wedding time.

The stages of the ceremony follow one another: from the ball to the banquet and finally Gelina. During this last rite, the young woman’s face is painted and she walks through the village with her eyes closed, towards her husband’s home. For Nevse Sirak, it was an honor to be married in this way: “I have no words, I am happy».

However, Gelina could not practice all the time. For example during the Soviet occupation, even Prohibited, only a few families were able to perform the ceremony in secret.

Today there is renewed interest in this century-old tradition, many young people of the Pomac community are returning to Ribnovo Married in a traditional way, which shows that the transmission of this cultural and religious heritage has a strong resonance among the younger generations of the community.



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