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The Painted Faces Of The Brides Of Kosovo

By Chinelo Eze
11 August 2022   |   3:00 pm
In the Kosovan settlement of Donje Ljubinje, Bosniaks view wedding ceremonies as works of art. Donje Ljubinje, is an ethnically primarily Bosniak community of around 3,000 people in the Shar Mountains on the border between Kosovo and North Macedonia. You will be in wonder when you attend a typical traditional wedding in Donje Ljubinje, which…

In the Kosovan settlement of Donje Ljubinje, Bosniaks view wedding ceremonies as works of art.

Donje Ljubinje, is an ethnically primarily Bosniak community of around 3,000 people in the Shar Mountains on the border between
Kosovo and North Macedonia.

You will be in wonder when you attend a typical traditional wedding in Donje Ljubinje, which is close to the city of Prizren. During a wedding, local ladies assist the bride, in getting dressed in traditional clothing for the customary wedding.

Before the customary wedding ceremony, women from Donje Ljubinje do a dance.

The traditional weddings in the Kosovo village of Donje Ljubinje are a source of great pride for the locals as they represent the unique character of their hometown. These opulent rites, which have a thousand-year history, are particularly well-known for the intricate face painting that protects the bride from bad marriage luck.

Nonetheless, the beautiful nature of the culture, this long-standing custom as it is, is currently in danger of disappearing.

The face paints are intricately done in order to prevent any ill luck from ruining the wedding. A popular name in the community known for her skills the mythic face art starts the process of painting the bride‘s face.

It is said that there is just one woman left who does the makeup, but the number of individuals who desire this kind of conventional wedding is declining year after year.

The newer generations don’t seem to be very interested in learning how to apply these detailed embellishments, which will help retain this intangible heritage of the community. Thus this makes Sefitagic one of the last persons in the hamlet to do so.

A bride is decked out from head to toe in traditional attire, and her face is painted white with ornate crimson, blue, gold, and silver dots and sprays.


An older woman paints the face of the bride while loud drum music plays during the ceremonial show. The bride is unable to open her eyes, speak to anyone, eat, or drink during the two hours that it takes to paint her face.
while chefs were preparing a feast for their guests after butchering a large bull.

Due to emigration, Donje Ljubinje’s population, which was around 3,000 people 20 years ago, has decreased by half. The busiest months for weddings are July and August since many individuals with connections to the village come back then and there is a wedding every day, often twice a day.

These face paints done on the bride are packed with significance. The red circles stand for fertility, the three golden circles represent the phases of life, and the red and blue spots will guarantee that the bride has a happy and healthy family.

Another element of the wedding is that it is a two-day celebration filled with a festival of song and dancing that upholds a long-standing custom and features a bride stunning in traditional attire.

Part of the expectations of the bride is having a cone placed on the bride’s head before she leaves her home for the wedding, and this is used to hang a red veil over her face. The bride is then shrouded in a veil, as she rides her horse through the village to the wedding. The bride’s face remains covered till the ceremony.

Sefitagic has painted many brides and just hopes that this tradition won’t die with her.

The future of Donje Ljubinje’s economy is dismal, and the village’s centuries-old wedding traditions are now in risk of disappearing because nearly two-thirds of its citizens are presently forced to seek work elsewhere in Europe. The culture of the communities traditional wedding is becoming increasingly rare, same as the elaborate facial adornment that may soon be considered outdated.