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Bulgarian Wedding

A Guide to a Bulgarian Wedding Ceremony and Rituals

If you want to visit Bulgaria to have your wedding, here is a guide to follow. Weddings in this part of the world are large, puzzling, noisy but fun. In the past, lots of rituals were part of weddings, but modern ones skip many of these. We are going to guide you into most of them anyway.

The Festival of Buying the Bride

Wedding ceremonies in Bulgaria do not start too early in the day. They begin at around noon or at least mid-morning. The groom, his groomsmen, family, and friends visit the bride’s home where a bride-buying ceremony is held. The bride’s friends and family place a shoe outside the door so the groom can fill it with money.

They shove the money-filled shoe inside only for it to come back with the request for more money. This happens several times as the bride’s family pretends that the money is not enough to buy the precious bride. Some bridal families do swap the shoe for a larger boot to symbolize that they want more money. No words are spoken, save for a few giggles and laughter.

The Last Dance of the Unmarried Girl

The last dance is akin to the European or American bachelorette party. It features a Bulgarian folk dance referred to as “horo”. If she lives in a city or town estate, all her neighbors will be present to bid her farewell. A live orchestra plays loud music as she dances alone at first, and then all guests join her.

The Festival of Grains and Coins

There are two types of weddings in Bulgaria – a church wedding and a civil one. At a church function, rituals include reading Bible verses, putting crown’s on the couple’s heads and going round a table of icons. These rituals are believed to bring the couple good fortune, health and wealth. The two most important people are accompanied by their first witnesses – the best woman and the best man.

Guessing the Gender of their First Child

After the church or civil wedding, the wedding party head to the restaurant for a grand reception. The couple only enters the venue after all guests have taken their seats. A symbol of joining the couple’s families is held where the two mothers-in-law exchange small bread pieces that are covered in honey.

An interesting ritual of guessing the sex of the couple’s first child is held. Here, the bride kicks a small container carrying a white flower and a red flower. If the white flower goes farther, the first child will be a boy. If the red flower goes farther, the first child will be a girl. If both land at the exact same spot, she has to repeat the process until there is a clear outcome.

The party involves lots of food, drinks, and dancing. Traditional Belarusian yams, arrowroots, and sweet potatoes are served. In a mix of modernity, fish, seafood, and beef are part of the main course. Accompaniments include fried potato chips, mushrooms, rice, pasta, and vegetables. As the night wears on, wine, beer, and champagne are served. Guests will party into the night dancing to songs such as Smeseno horo, Na Trapeza, Smeseno horo, Trakiisko horo, kurdhzhaliiska Ruchenica, Tudorka dari tucheshe, Astargya o hor, and Buchimish among others.

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