Every spring, the town of Stara Zagora in central Bulgaria hosts a controversial bride market where young virgins are paraded in front of suitors who bid on them. The culture is renowned for a “bridal market” held up to four times a year where young girls flock to muddy fields and parking lots around the country in red carpet gowns to meet prospective husbands.
Young ambitious women are made to quit school as soon as they get their first period.
Families prepare their teenage daughters to meet potential husbands by whitening their face with pomade and trying on dresses bought online.
The community thinks the traditions are essential for Kalaidzhi roma clan to survive.
While the generations-old market has been changed by technology and the economic downturn, it’s still one of the main ways families are introduced to one another in a country where they are economically and socially discriminated against.
Grooms pay an average of $290 to $350 for their young brides, however the price can go much higher.
If a girl is not a virgin, then her family is disgraced and the bids are reduced