Henna Nights  "A Traditional Henna Night in a Roma village",  Pavlikeni, Veliko Tarnavo, Bulgaria - July.2016

During my documentary photography, I photographed traditional weddings and different henna nights in different parts of Anatolia. Henna nights are usually 1 day. When I was invited to a village wedding in Bulgaria in 2016, I witnessed a tradition that lasted for the first time for 2 days. It was the best henna night I have ever seen. Roman people living in the village usually work in the agriculture industry and service jobs. They speak Turkish and each has a Turkish name that they use between themselves besides the official Bulgarian name. On the first day of the marriage ceremony, I witnessed the henna night at the girl's house. Henna night is an Anatolian tradition. The groom and his family came with their sweet packs, which symbolize their good intentions, and presented them to the daughter's family. In a temporary area established between the neighborhoods, designs were made with henna on the hands and feet of the bride, who came out of the house with his friends. They were danced together. On the second day, the traditional roman wedding ceremony was held on the field in front of the groom's house. At first, the mother and father of the groom held the bride with her hands and showed her to the guests by walking and dancing. The bride and groom wearing Indian clothes were danced in front of the guests with a scarf attached to the neck of the groom. The bride wanted to tell the guests that the groom is now her own. Later on, the bride and groom walked in the arms of their sadic’s (guide of the groom and bride) while their friends accompanied them with candles in their hands behind them. The wedding ended with the bride's kissed hand of mother-in-law's and then collectively played Gankino (Bulgarian folk dance) dance. It the best traditional Roma marriage ceremony I've ever seen. A ceremony that arises folkloric elements of an unknown culture. Everything from Indian dance to Balkan folklore.

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