December 14, 2013

Bride, Kosovo

Photograph by Nita Zeqiri

This Month in Photo of the Day: National Geographic Photo Contest Images

A tradition a thousand years old, passed on to generations in today's remote Donje Ljubinje in the Zhupa area in south Kosovo. Today, this tradition is at the verge of extinction, as only a 65-year-old lady continues preparing young brides according to their traditions. The bride's face is painted in many beautiful layers of color. Three golden circles symbolizing the cycles of life are tied to one another by the golden roads that one crosses over their lifetime. The inner red circles are symbols of fertility, where red and blue dots are born from, and the whole face is covered by them, wishing her a healthy and happy family.

(This photo and caption were submitted to the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest.)


See all 2012 contest entries »
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93 comments
JAMES REYNOLDS
JAMES REYNOLDS

WOW! 

There is no real way to describe the greatness of that talent....just WOW!

Gunjan Chikara
Gunjan Chikara

Quite amazing image and a thoughtful description

lee spencer
lee spencer

thans so much for your work and explanation

hope the practice never stops

Joy Saldanha
Joy Saldanha

Did surely comment on this one. Something went wrong, worse luck. Better never late than never, great work on one face,really beautiful.j.e.s.

Shannon T
Shannon T

Wow. I wonder how long that takes.

Nia Imman
Nia Imman

I hope someone else will take up this tradition so it will not be lost

Ana Moylan
Ana Moylan

To the commenters saying "Kosovon", its actually "Kosovar". 

Jhony Rep
Jhony Rep

 In Bulgaria, the vilage of Ribnovo, area in western Rodope mauntain with slav speaking people, there is the same tradition. 

Prishtina Finest
Prishtina Finest

This make up presents the original motives of the Balkans, performed for more thousand years among Albanians, the original inhabitants of the Balkans, Its funny to see how Serb trolls who don`t have anything to do with the Balkans try to deform everything Albanian.

Serbs are Slavs who came to Europe from Asia after the 6th century AD and have been trying to destroy everything Albanian since then. Everyone who knows the History of Europe is aware of this fact!


Mustafa Sasmaz
Mustafa Sasmaz

To the Serbian, Kosovan, Albanian, Monte Negronian, Macedonian, Croation friends who are making comments here. lets agree on one thing!. No there are two things actually. 

The first one is lets see and define History as today's problems!,  Secondly, 'Nationalities' are man-made and politically exploited stuff!  In our times, given the fact that world natural resources are diminishing fast and ecological balance is not longer change towards the humanity's favor, lets focus on earth resources and how best we can use them.  Let's leave the national identity debates and all the associated things with it to the second burner!.


All cultures have beautiful and in fact corresponding traditions,  In Kosovo this face painting, elsewhere there is a similar stuff.


To  the Serbian friend, I can see through your nationalist tendencies!.  Look at here.  We are altogether making comments on a cultural heritage here.  I think it is time to embrace each other by putting national differences aside!.  Look at the 'relics' of Yugoslavia; I mean the likes of all those 'national heros'.  All of them were shortsighted!.  So much blood had been shed!.  What good has come out of this? I think now, lets find common good in co-existence!

Alisa Saiti
Alisa Saiti

This is a beautiful Bosnian tradition of scribble in Kosovo.

Thanks for a women with such skill. 

  Regards for Donje Ljubinje, which is named in a Bosnian language.

Shiv Guron
Shiv Guron

Deep philosophy behind this make up, I love this cultural aspect.


Marta Mendoza
Marta Mendoza

Beautiful and amazingly elaborated  very nice!!! I wish the tradition survives!

Matthew Burrier
Matthew Burrier

Does she have one fat bride's maid in a sleeveless dress like in America?

lily avila
lily avila

it must have taken them a really long time to paint her face and she looks very pretty and I wonder how long the person took to paint her face? I also wonder how long does she have to leave her eyes closed and stay still for the paint to dry?

Alan Chack
Alan Chack

Is there any more information on this tradition including how long it takes to prepare the bride, how long will she wear the face make-up, what religious ceremonies are used for the wedding, does the groom also dress in any special traditional manner, etc.?

Nexhmedin Ramadani
Nexhmedin Ramadani

This is really the most traditional bride not just in Kosovo but also all around the Balkan region. Kosovo really has a lot of traditional issues and other cultural ones. 

dacia liberat
dacia liberat

@Jhony Rep true. actually the Rodopo area of Bulgaria carries very old Thracian and Illyrian traditions, which is why we see something in common here.  there are also incredible bagpipes and other folk traditions in Rodopo region that are related to ancient culture in the whole Balkan area (from ancient Illyrian, Dacian, Thracian tribes).  always in the mountains in our region, are preserved the oldest traditions!  the slav language has replaced the ancient languages in some of these areas, but these particular elements of the culture are not slavic, as they can be traced back to even greek and probably pre-greek periods.

Lirim Shabani
Lirim Shabani

@Mustafa SasmazThere is no Kosovan and Albanian. There are only Albanians. So, how we should agree with you when first thing you say is wrong. 


Secondly, where is this culture elsewhere, show to us ?

Lirim Shabani
Lirim Shabani

@Alisa Saiti

Nothing to do with Bosnian tradition. Just today I interviewed an old woman. She told me that her mother knew how to prepare brides with this kind if painting the face. the woman is Albanian and not Bosnian.

christos martini
christos martini

@Alisa Saiti this tradtion has nothing but NOTHING to do with bosnians serbs or other slavs

it is an ancient albanian tradtion from dardania kosovo older than all you slavs together so how come that you say its bosnian(which is illogical) when this tradtion is older than you exist as an ethnicity  hahahah get over your complexes about your immigration and develope your own culture this tradition is purly albanian from kosovo 

christos martini
christos martini

@Alisa Saiti this has nothing to do with bosnians or other slavs NOTHING 

how you come up with such nonsense you have some deep complexes because of your immigration and your influnced culture that you try to declere everything foregin as yours


THIS IS AN ANCIENT ALBANIAN TRADITION FROM DARDANIA KOSOVO LONG BEFORE SLAVS EVEN EXISTED 

Taip Taipi
Taip Taipi

@Aleksandra Jovanovic  Forget Kosova, careful you don't lose Vojvodina and Snadjak, considering the high mortality rate of Serbia, perhaps one day Belgrade will speak Albaninan. Have nice day

Prishtina Finest
Prishtina Finest

@Jhony Rep @Prishtina Finest  


you might want to consider your facts and take some extra history lessons before you embarrass yourself




Numerous lexemes that are reconstructible for the Proto-Slavic language have been identified as borrowings from the languages of various tribes that Proto-Slavic speakers came into contact with, either in prehistorical times or during their expansion when they first appeared in history in the 6th century (the Common Slavic period).[1] Most of the loanwords come from IranianCeltic, and Turkic. The topic of such loanwords in Slavic has sparked numerous sharp debates in the 20th century, some of which persist to this day.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Slavs


http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/common_origin_croats_serbs_jats.php

dacia liberat
dacia liberat

@christos martini @Alisa Saiti what undermines your logic is that many many illyrian traditions persist in the old illyrian regions (serbia, croatia, bosnia, macedonia), so of course it is completely possible to find some artifacts of the ancient culture.  most likely, many of the southern slavs are converted illyrians (and thracians and dacians), so you should not be surprised to see many things in common if you have an open mind.  tell me how can you imagine that slavs came down and completely displaced ALL the illyrians who dominated the entire area? and where in history is there any evidence of slav genocide against illyrians, or even war against illyrians?  there is no evidence of this.  which means that in the 6th, 7th century, illyrians mostly welcomed the slavs (who were strong and stable compared to the rest of the region which was still recovering from a complete collapse of the roman empire).  probably they had mostly good relations and over time, many illyrians learned slavic language and eventually shifted part of their identity (after centuries).  the main reason for the shift was the religious fanaticism of the serbian kingdoms and the absolute requirement to show loyalty to religious edicts, etc.  this was alien to the old illyrian, thracian, dacian cultures which were pagan and then some converted to roman catholicism.  so this characteristic of fanaticism of the new slavic kingdoms (mostly serbian), created a separation with other illyrians who refused to convert (albanians).  this was still not that severe a separation until the end of the ottoman period when serbian nationalism became an unavoidable factor in the balkans and mass intolerance finally completely replaced the ancient common linkages.  our challenge today, is to rebuild those linkages and to focus on our common features, rather than the recent religious invasions, colonists, etc.  the ancient natural pagan religions must be allowed to reemerge and grow into a modern unifying identity, or else our little tiny region will continue to be a joke with all these tiny groups claiming to be greater than the other, while the outside world looks at them and laughs (but with some tears probably as well).

dacia liberat
dacia liberat

@christos martini @Alisa Saiti the reason this is such a confusing topic is because the area where the southern slavs live is populated by many, perhaps majority, slavicized Illyrians.  so of course there are things in common with serbs, croats, bosnians, etc.  there was never a genocide of illyrians by slavs (and not by romans either), there were linguistic conversions in some areas.  after the roman empire fell, the area was chaotic and lawless.  the slavs moved down in the 6th and 7th century, but in fact, they did not really move in mass numbers into the balkans, as they were mostly satisfied with the regions of poland, czech, etc.  but they had influence and brought some stability to a terrible period of invasions of the crazy tribes and decline of western power structure.  so in the balkans, slavic influence was there, but mostly in language conversion for economic reasons.  most serbs, croats, bosniaks, and macedonians (and probably Bulgarians as well) are from the same old Thracian, Illyrian and Dacian tribes (include the Romanians as well).  notice that southeastern european peoples do not look like Polish, Czech, Ukranian, Russian, etc.  they look mostly very similar (if you have an open mind and are not too nationalist).  albanian nationalists have a point, especially about having a special place because they carry the ancient language, but they are wrong about ethnic differences with their neighbors... most of us are the same, brothers and sisters, each with different scars from all the colonialism, invasions, conversions etc.  we should recognize the incredible similarities and build a better future. :-)

Jhony Rep
Jhony Rep

@christos martini @Alisa Saiti Dardanian people spoke the same language as Trakians. The modern sowth slavic languagies like bulgarian, macedonian, serbian etc. have very big conection with trakian ( and dardanian ) language. Albanian have nothing with Dardanians. Dardanians are protoslavs ( protoserbian ) . The same tradition for face painting you can find in western Bulgaria among Pomak people, the muslim Slavs ! 

Aleksandra Jovanovic
Aleksandra Jovanovic

 I don't want to discuss with mentally disabled people, so I will only say that JUSTICE IS SLOW BUT REACHABLE AND GOD WILL SAVE SERBIANS. Bye, bye. :***

dacia liberat
dacia liberat

@Aleksandra Jovanovic @Filloreta Ademaj it is a fact of history that many albanian and serbian orthodox built those churches together and many albanians and serbians protected them on one side of the battle with the ottomans, while another group of albanians and serbs who were part of the ottoman empire, fought on the other side.  the history of the region is complex.  one has to be more thoughtful to understand it and find commonality between your groups, instead of always trying to paint some simple picture of total separation.  it just is not true.

Rezarta Kastrati
Rezarta Kastrati

@Aleksandra Jovanovic  I vetmi justifikim per tu identifikuar ju ngelet ortodoksia. Kjo tregon se sa te trashe jeni si popull.......me pralla te tilla vini ne gjume femijet tuaj kur i çoni per te fjetur, kjo na lumturon pa mase! Ne DNA e identifikimit te nje populli nuk ka historiane e shkencetar te mbeshtetet ne ipotezen e fese, por ne lashtesine e gjuhes qe ai trashegon.  Meqe jo vetem ne KOSOVE por edhe ne serbine tuaj, ate vend te cilin ju e keni uzurpuar me dhume e me gjak, 1300 vjet me pare kur keni zbritur nga stepat e Siberise, flitej gjuha jone e bukur dhe hyjnore SHQIPE, mua me perqen te te pergjigjem ne shqip edhe pse me pelqen shume edhe anglishtja. Ne SHQIPETARET jemi ne tokat tona prej me shume se12'000 vjetesh. Kemi njohur kristianezimin me pare se ju, ortodoksine me pare se ju.................. edhe muslymanine qe turku na la ne fund. Kemi kisha ortodokse shume me te vjetra se tuajat, kemi gjuhen me te lashte qe njerzimi njeh dhe qe ju me dhune e shtypet kur zbritet nga stepat e siberise se bizonteve. Me dhune enderoni ne perjetsi te rrembeni, por kesaj rradhe bizonti qe ju mbron eshte ne gjendie kome.....

Trina Teri
Trina Teri

@Aleksandra Jovanovic  ... and the face painting, yes, it looks very beautiful and represents the culture diversity in Republic of Kosova! ;)

Trina Teri
Trina Teri

@Aleksandra Jovanovic Not only Serbians are Orthodoxs, there are Albanians and other nationalities who are Orthodox, as well, and the churches are from the time of Byzantine ... and they don't belong only to serbians but to all orthodox including Albanians and other nationalities, so please stop linking the Byzantine churches with your nationality... And Kosovo is not Serbia, it is Republic of Kosova now, it's independence is accepted by 100 and something states of the world, and I am sorry if this ruins your dreams about Big Serbia, which you serbians hoped for also when starting the war in Croatia and Bosnia. In stead of feeling remorse and regret for the acts of your nation, you still write provocative comments about Kosovo being Serbia. Forget about it, that could only remain in your unhealthy and unrealistic dreams ;) 

Uran Mujku
Uran Mujku

@Aleksandra Jovanovic does it mean that if in some country have mosques it is a part another country? Also in Greece, Albania, Macedonia have Orthodox churches, does it mean that also these countries are part of Serbia, noooo please. I forget to mentioned that also in Serbia have Albanians and mosques, so serbia is part of Big Albania :), yeah ?

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