An Amazing Traditional Roma Wedding Ceremony

11-13.July.2016 Batak Village, Pavlikeni - Veliko Týrnova, Bulgaria


The roman society living in Bulgaria is divided into different groups in itself. While the Christian community continues its traditions, Muslim groups are closer to Anatolian cultures. But sometimes they celebrate both of the traditions. I also witnessed the Muslim roman families who performed the same tradition while  Christian Roman were sacrificing lambs on St. George's day

I was a guest at a village wedding ceremony in Bulgaria on July, 2016, as part of the Roma work that has been going on since 1999. Batak village of Pavlikeni in Veliko Tarnavo. Roman people living in the village usually work in agriculture industry and service jobs. They speak Turkish and each has a Turkish name that they use between themselves beside the official Bulgarian name. On the first day of marriage ceremony I witnessed the henna night at the girl's house. Henna night is an Anatolian tradition. The groom and his family come together with their sweet packs, which symbolize their good intentions, and present 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 was 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.

The best traditional Roma marriage ceremony I've ever seen. A ceremony that arise folkloric elements of an unknown culture. Everything from Indian dance to Balkan folklore.

Thank you very much to Center Amalipe and its moderators Desisleva, Sergey and Samir for their local supports.

Thank you very much to new married couple Velislav and Stefka and their families.

Thank you very much to Hristo Dimitrov.


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