Moparuli – მოპარული

Moparuli means stolen in Georgian. The tradition in Caucasus when a man steals a bride to get married is more than a hundred years old. Most of the times the unions are arranged by the relatives of one or both sides, sometimes a young couple elopes form an uncomprehending family, but there are too many cases, when the girl is stolen without her consent and even without any agreement with parents by an absolute stranger. In the remote regions of the country people still consider girl to be ruined if she was touched by a man, not to mention stolen. Gossips spreads through the village immediately and if she refuses to stay with the kidnapper, then most likely she will never marry.

In early days they used to steal the brides on horseback, nowadays a few friends get together, wait when the girl is left alone and drag her into the car. They hide the future bride far in the mountains and try to talk her into the marriage. At this point her parents, who worry for their daughter’s future, support the marriage. Feeling cornered, most girls agree. Normally stolen brides don’t get to celebrate a wedding, partially because of the tradition, partially due to Georgia’s decades of weak economy. Just ten years ago, women were stolen at the age of 14-15 years and normally a year later they had their first child. But this is happening less and less now, mostly due to the emergence of schools in rural areas. Yet, when a man does not want to be rejected or has a bad reputation, he prefers to steal the bride, at the risk of his freedom.

Georgia, 2016