Traditional courting is still practiced in some Greek villages of western Thrace. According to the Pomak tradition of lülka, unwed women swing seductively before eligible suitors at the start of every May, sitting on ropes that dangle from trees peppering the region’s fields. It’s a celebration of spring, an invitation to love and new life.
For all its simplicity and symbolism, the custom is one of contradiction. Though some young Pomak women continue to take to the swings, most—those who partake in the tradition and those who don't—are forced into arranged marriages.
The Pomaks are minorities: Greek citizens, ethnically Slavic, and Muslim by religion—a unique blend that, along with the remote geography of their settlements, contributes to their isolation. The