I’ve found quite a few pictures online of these beautiful Kosovar brides, yet there’s surprisingly little information available as to how and why the tradition started, what products they use and the specific designs used. For this reason, it’s hard to find too much to say. If you have any further information, please let me know!
What is known is that this tradition is from the mountain town of Donje Ljubinje, situated in Kosovo, near to the Macedonian and Albanian borders. The people there are ethnically Terbesh/Torbesh Muslims (there are various spellings).
It is unknown when the practise began or the specific reason behind it, but the bride’s face is intricately painted, matching her costume, to give her a doll-like appearance in order to ward off the “evil eye, and discourages gossip and speculation.”
The tradition is viewed with great pride by all the towns residents as it symbolizes their unique identity but sadly it seems this practise is dying out, being replaced by more ‘western’ traditions. This is the problem with globalisation, individuality is dying out.
There’s a beautiful video I found online, which can be viewed here, showing the tradition. Apparently the make up artist looks so sad because she is the only one who still practises this art and is worried that the tradition will die. It will be a real tragedy if it does.