The article presents a comparative study of lyric folk songs and wedding customs in Novi Pazar and surroundings (the Raška District, southwestern Serbia), performed by Serbs and Bosniaks/Muslims prior to a wedding ceremony. The study is based on narratives about the customs and rituals that precede a wedding, and folk songs as well, which were recorded in 2018 from 34 collocutors. Some of the customs are the following: traditional introduction of couples on various gatherings, like sabor (ceremonial and festive meeting) and fairs; proposal ceremony; bringing sepet (ritual gifts), and a bachelorette party (djevojačko veče). The collected poems testify to the spirit of an older time in which there was more desire for a loved one than direct love encounters. The departure of a girlfriend/boyfriend to be married to a sabor or fair was already a form of separation, but the beginning of the wedding as a ritual of the passage is an engagement, because it significantly changes the social status of the future bride or groom. There are certain differences specific to Islamic culture, such as the donation of gifts for brides (sepet) and the ritual lure of henna at bachelorettes parties. The results of the research show that there are many similarities in both traditions in performing rituals, and the merging of two traditions is evident in the poems interpreted by narrators.
Keywords: Novi Pazar, wedding ritual, engagement, customs, Bosniaks/Muslims, Serbs