Things To Do In Bulgaria – Roma Market

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Things To Do In Bulgaria - Roma Market

Things To Do In Bulgaria – Roma Market

Things To Do In Bulgaria: Throughout history, different ethnic groups have co-existed on Earth, creating societies in their inhabited areas. Almost every society has cultures, traditions, and lifestyles that distinguish and make them unique.

The Romans, sometimes called Gypsies, are one of these communities. They have existed for centuries, living different lives in different countries. About 2 million of them live in Türkiye, while the majority are found in the Balkans.


Romantic roots extend to northern India; The people now called Romani or Gypsies are originally of Indian origin. However, they do not like the term ‘Gypsy’, especially in the UK. Romani is often preferred, as the term ‘Gypsy’ is derogatory and insulting.

The Romani people migrated westward in groups from areas of India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan around 420 AD. Today these areas mainly include countries like England, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey. Their total global population is thought to be around 10 million.

There are various theories as to why the Romans left their homeland in India and moved east. Some people say that in the fourth century AD, these people were captured as slaves by Western rulers and taken to the West. Others insist that the Romani were bought as mercenaries to be used in wars and began living among the Western states.

The interesting thing about the Romani is that no matter where they migrate, they maintain a similar lifestyle and culture in that area. For example, they like to practice fortune-telling and become fortune-tellers, no matter where they are. Men, on the other hand, usually engage in music-related activities, tin-smithing, and livestock farming. Both men and women have a deep connection with music and dance; In other words, they get immense pleasure from dancing.

However, the Romani experienced marginalization in most countries around the world. They are not easily accepted by the society in their countries, and people often maintain a reserved attitude towards them. This is somewhat related to the Romani as they do not socialize much within the community.

For example, they take their children out of school at an earlier age, they live together in specific neighborhoods, and they have their own districts. They do not live a lonely life in the same locality. Additionally, they often prefer to marry within their own community. These unique characteristics contribute to their social exclusion.

Bride Markets in Bulgaria

Now let’s talk about one of these countries, Bulgaria. In Bulgaria, Romani live in isolation from the rest of the country. Therefore, both Bulgarians and Romani are somewhat distantly related. So, let’s learn about the bride markets in Bulgaria, which is the main topic of this article, and try to understand the life of the Romani people in this country.

According to local accounts, Romani individuals in Bulgaria generally avoid traditional employment. Instead, they settle on vacant land and shape it into a romantic neighborhood to suit their preferences. This practice has created a clear divide between them and the wider society. However, Bulgarians’ concerns go beyond this social isolation;

They lament the Romani community’s tendency to circumvent legal processes, including not paying for essential services such as electricity and water. Bulgarians argue that such actions place additional financial burdens on taxpayers, contributing to their cold attitude towards the Romani.

Historically, Bulgaria has seen fluctuations in its Romani population. After joining the United Nations, the country saw an increase in Romani emigration to various European destinations, leading to a slight decline in their numbers within Bulgaria in recent years. Despite living legally in Bulgaria and having a Bulgarian identity, some Romani individuals have been accused of engaging in electoral malpractice, taking advantage of their voting rights for personal gain.

It is worth noting that the preferred term for the Romani community in Bulgaria is ‘Romi’, as opposed to the derogatory ‘Tigani’. Originating from India, they bring with them cultural traditions including a rich musical heritage. Today, many Romani families in Bulgaria live in substandard conditions, in slums characterized by dilapidated infrastructure and minimal state investment.

Their homes, which often consist of old structures amidst neglected surroundings, paint a grim picture of their standard of living. Engaged primarily in pig farming and living in independent garden-equipped structures, the Romani community faces socioeconomic challenges unique to their circumstances.

A unique tradition still prevalent among some Romani families in Bulgaria is the dowry system. Despite being largely obsolete in modern societies, it persists in Romani communities, where daughters are often removed from education after primary schooling to prepare them for marriage. This practice, similar to ‘selling’ daughters, occurs openly in public markets, without government interference or restrictions.

Despite its archaic nature, this tradition has taken root among some Romani clans in Bulgaria, being considered an integral part of their cultural heritage. The annual bazaar, where daughters are ‘offered’ in marriage in exchange for financial gain, is a reminder of the complex social dynamics and economic inequalities that exist within Bulgarian society.

Therefore, we are highlighting this tradition, which the Romani community considers an integral part of their culture. The day the bride market opens, a sweet excitement fills the homes of Romantic families. Daughters try to show style and charm, preparation for which starts a year in advance. Families leave no stone unturned in investing in gorgeous outfits to ensure that their daughters look beautiful.

However, the ultimate goal of the day is to find a suitable groom. The price of a potential match varies, often influenced by the suitor’s financial situation and the girl’s preferences. Interestingly, there is no such thing as forced marriage; Romani girls approach the market with enthusiasm, seeing it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

In Bulgaria, Romani families come together to negotiate dowries, with prices usually determined by factors such as age and beauty. The proud father sets prices accordingly, enjoying the honor of high offers or previous successful matches. Although the notion of valuing daughters economically may seem uncomfortable to some, Romani families derive pleasure from the practice. Even if the father convinces the daughter to marry, if the groom fails to appeal to the mother or daughter, they may withhold their consent.

The dowry for an average bride can range from 20,000 to 50,000 Bulgarian levs – a significant sum in a country where the cost of living is comparatively low. This financial transaction, while unconventional, holds great importance for Romani families, providing them with a sense of security and status.

Despite social norms, Romani families prefer to maintain their traditional customs. They discourage socializing beyond their community for fear of gossip and negative stigma. As a result, many Romani girls are married at an early age, often abandoning education beyond primary school. This practice underlines the importance of bride markets within Romani culture, providing a solid path to marriage for young individuals.

It is important to note that not all Romani communities follow these customs, and variations exist within Bulgaria and globally. Those who continue the tradition of bride markets, known as ‘kicha’ Romani, consider the event to be more than just a transaction – it is a celebration of culture and community.

In the markets, both parties attempt to project an image of prosperity, with the groom’s party arriving in ostentatious vehicles to convey wealth. Regional dances and social interactions add to the festive atmosphere, making the bride market a unique cultural celebration for Romani people in Bulgaria.

Although some Romantic individuals may not be interested in marriage, they attend these ceremonies, attracted by the opportunity for socialization and fun. In short, the bride market serves as a reflection of Romani traditions, providing insight into a community that cherishes its customs amidst a rapidly changing world.


In conclusion, the vibrant atmosphere of bride markets reflects the enduring cultural practices and social dynamics of the Romani community. Amidst the smiling faces and bustling activity, matches are made quickly, indicating clear interest in these unique gatherings. Located in Stara Zagora, one of Bulgaria’s largest cities, these markets attract tourists from all over Europe, contributing to the city’s economy and cultural exchange.

Things To Do In Bulgaria - Roma Market

With approximately 20,000 Romani residents in Stara Zagora alone, the Romani community maintains a significant presence in urban areas, preserving their distinct culture and traditions. The bridal market in Stara Zagora holds special distinction as being the only market of its kind in Europe, potentially influencing similar events in other European countries.

For the participants, the criteria for a successful match are straightforward: wealth for the groom and youth and beauty for the bride. Yet, amidst these outsider ideas, there exists among Romans a unique ability to form instant connections across tribal boundaries.

After agreements are reached in the marketplace, celebrations take place, marked by joyful dancing and music – a testament to the Romantic love for entertainment and communal celebrations. Despite facing stereotypes and misconceptions, the Romani community remains steadfast in its commitment to its heritage and way of life.

Ultimately, while Romantic neighborhoods may not be prevalent in every corner of the world, their resilience and cultural richness endure. Through this exploration of romantic marriage markets in Bulgaria, we have tried to shed light on a tradition that continues to thrive amidst the complexities of modern society.

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