The Kalaidzhi bride market takes place in the southeast of Bulgaria every year. Unmarried women are often paired off with financially strong men.
But more and more young Roma are rebelling against the old tradition. For young Kalaidzhi the annual bride market at Bachkovo Monastery is the only chance to find a partner. Their Orthodox Christian faith and traditional code of conduct prohibit them from dating, flirting or having any other pre-marital relations. The Kalaidzhi – a name meaning tinsmiths or boilermakers – marry only within the group. Finding a spouse from outside – and in particular a non-Roma Bulgarian – is out of the question. Love is only a secondary consideration. What matters is the dowry. A growing number of young Roma, however, are rebelling against the traditional marriage market. They want to make their own decisions, and to love and marry the person of their choice. For girls especially – some as young as 15 when they are put up for marriage – the wedding is the end of self-determined life. They will subsequently be housewives and mothers. The film accompanies 17-year-old Teni and 19-year-old Maria in the week before the market day. For them it means buying a lot of new clothes and masses of other preparations. Can this be a way to find true love? And how is the outdated ritual affected by the Internet and social media?
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