The Decorated Bride

In Lubinje, a small, picturesque village of 3500 inhabitants, a few hours from Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, members of the Trebesh community live in colorful houses. They also have a colorful custom – or rite – of “beautifying brides on their wedding day,” writes Nita Deda in Kosovo 2.0 magazine.

As part of their rite every Lubinje bride must have their faces decorated meticulously and exquisitely, “while their bodies are covered with five to six layers of traditional handmade costumes and accessories that bulk you up and weigh you down.” Following the arduous decoration process, documented in photographs by Yll Citaku, “the bride is taken to her husband’s house by horse,” Deda continues. “Her head is covered with a veil to hide her face until she reaches her new home. Once there, the bride has to stand inside a room flanked by her husband’s mother and sister, who attends to the new bride’s every need. Meanwhile, the entire village visits in order to see and welcome the bride into the community.”

The bride’s costume, which gives her the appearance of a living doll, protects her from the “evil eye, and discourages gossip and speculation.”

For more on this extraordinary ritual see the video documentary by Yll Citaku here. [Thanks to Mirko Ilic.]

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