Lelo Game is one of the oldest and most profound traditions of Guria, the Western part of Georgia. It happens every easter in village Shukhuti. During the Lelo game, the otherwise peaceful and uneventful town transforms into a raging torrent that tears and sweeps away anything and everything along the way. Around 5 pm, the whole village gathers together. The sight of the drunk crowd, overflowing with energy makes your heart pound. Upper and lower Shukhutians fight against each other to get hold of the 18kg ball that is thrown in the air by the Priest. There are no rules, no forgiveness, one side has to win. Tradition has it that once the bloody game is over, the ball is taken to the grave of the most recently deceased person in the village, either in Zemo Shukhuti or Kvemo Shukhuti, depending which side is the winner. Then, everyone goes back to friendship to remember the lost soul and pay tribute together.

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February 13, 2019