Even in today’s extremely modern world where social media has demarcated all the geographical boundaries, there still are few places in the world hanging on to traditional bizarre practices that are a disrespect to humankind but yet are observed and accepted. One of the examples is Bulgaria’s bride market, where brides are sold. Putting on makeup, wearing their best clothes, thousands of teens get ready to attract their buyers. The practice is observed by Bulgaria’s Kalaidzhi group which is an Orthodox Christian community of Roma.
The community is discriminated and recognized across East Europe for their rigid beliefs and cultural traditions and how fiercely they defend them.
Young women are forced to leave school as soon as they’re perceived of marriageable age. The bridal market is held up to four times a year, where young teens dressed up in gowns get to meet their prospective husbands.
Alexey Pamporov, an academician who specializes in the study of Roma, says that despite the rapidly advancing world, and how social media has played a part in raising a voice for the voiceless the market still remains to primary way of interaction between young people. They meet in front of their families who later decide if they should go ahead with negotiating for dowry and marriage.
In a documentary named ‘Young Brides for Sale’ by Meline Larsson and Alice Stein, the girls expressed their concerns. When asked how they feel about the practice and the concept of being ‘sold’, they said that they want to get
married in a proper way but at the same time want to support their families as well.
The film-makers said they were shocked to hear about it and were unpleasantly surprised that even in today’s world the practice goes on. She said that the practice is close to this particular ethnic/religious group but still, that nowhere justifies the disturbing idea that women are a property that can be ‘sold’. Miss Larsson further reported that there’s an average price of $290 to $350 that the groom pays and it can go much higher as well.
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