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Wedding Songs and Customs in Novi Pazar and Surroundings

Folkloristika 5/1 (2020): 121–168
Author: Anja Glišović
Text: PDF


The article presents traditional wedding songs and customs, collected in 2018, during field research in Novi Pazar and surroundings, in the Raška District of southwestern Serbia, when 34 people were interviewed. Wedding ceremonies of Serbs and Bosniaks/Muslims have some similarities as well as differences. There are several identical rites, e.g.: the gathering of wedding guests at the groom’s house, the fetching of the bride to her father-in-law’s house, the return of wedding guests to the groom’s house with the ceremonies and festivities connected with it, and the rites that the bride performs there, the actual marriage ceremony, and the first wedding night. Various rituals performed by the bride in the new home were intended to ameliorate the general growth of the home and the wellbeing of its family members, to advance happiness and fertility in the marriage and in the household, and magically influence the birth of male children. Folk songs that were sung during the ceremony were an accompanying part of the rituals and aimed at glorifying a bride or a groom. Some songs intended to produce ritual laughter and mocked bride’s or groom’s appearance, their origin, or ritual actions they performed. In the Orthodox population, the actual wedding ceremony was performed by a priest at a church or a monastery and/or in a local community, and in the Islamic population, the Shari'a wedding was held in the groom’s house, but nowadays it is performed by an imam at a mosque. A wedding costume consists of several traditional garments. The Muslim brides wore long Turkish salvar (trousers), silk shirts, silver belts, fez, wooden mules; the Serbian brides wore embroidered skirts, sweaters and scarves. Serbian men’s traditional dress consisted of boiled wool trousers, embroidered shirts, sweaters, shepherd hats (šubara); and Muslim men’s attire included wool trousers, fez, shirts, waistcoats. 
Keywords: Novi Pazar, wedding ritual, folk songs, folk customs, Serbs, Bosniaks/Muslims