Skip to main content

Zezvaoba (June 2014)

The last Sunday of May is a day of celebration in the Tush villages Kvemo Alvani and Zemo Alvani in Kakheti.
Zezvaoba is the festival to honour the warrior Zezva Gaprindauli, who lead the Tush alongside the Georgian army against Persians at the Bakhtrioni battle in 1659. The main part of it is horse race, where Tush and Kists, a local minority group similar to Chechens, take part.

Horse races are a common part of various village festivals across Georgia. However, Zezvaoba is different, as it is embedded in funeral traditions.
The race (or doghi, in Georgian) begins in Zemo Alvani, with all the riders paying their respects to Zezva’s maternal uncle and his fellow riders, who died in Bakhtrioni by drinking horns of wine or beer to their honor and spilling the last drops of it onto their horses’ manes. Horses are also symbolically fed and a white ribbon is tied to each of them, to symbolise the blessing and also to help distinguish the participants from all the other riders around.
After the ceremony, the riders slowly proceed to the start line in another village, Takhtis Bogiri, where the race starts.
According to the legend, Zezva was promised as much lowland pasture land, as he could encircle galloping on his horse, Saghiri. He started right after the battle at Bakhtrioni and his horse finally died from exhaustion at Takhtis Bogiri, hence the race starts here.
This year, the winner was a Kist teenager, the three other riders to cross the imaginary finish line in Kvemo Alvani town center were Kists as well.
“Sadly, they always win. They are better with horses than we, Georgians, and this race is for them to show us that,” commented a Georgian man in the crow, when the race was over.
The victory of Kists caused a small skirmish in the crowd. According to locals, it is pretty usual, and Zezvaoba is ironically called ‘Zhezhvaoba’, as ‘zhezhva’ means ‘to beat someone’ in Georgian.
“One of the reasons Kists win is that they don’t tire their horses ahead of time. You see Georgian boys riding them back and forth before the race actually starts, and Kists slowly walk theirs towards the start line,” another spectator Khatuna explained.
The race is only 3-4 kilometers long, but it is enough to run down the horses, as Zezva ran down Saghiri. For example, in 2007 a horse fell dead at the finish line due to overheat and exhaustion.


  1. I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I really hope to check out the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own website now ;) msn hotmail sign in


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Space Girls: gender and status in space analog facilities

NASA has scheduled the first manned mission to Mars by 2030s. Soon human society will expand beyond this planet. But humans will have to endure a very long and crowded flight before settling in anywere. And even then, it will take years to expand living and working quarters beyond bare minimum. The start of our space colonization will be, beyond doubt, very claustrophobic:
Psychologists have long been studying dynamics of small isolated groups to determine how people cohabit and work together in extreme isolation. As cosmonaut Valery Ryumin wrote in his personal diary in 1980, “All the necessary conditions to perpetrate a murder are met by locking two men in a cabin of 18 by 20 feet . . . for two months.” Murdering aside, I am more interested what happens when mixed-gender small group work and live together in an isolated confined extreme environment. Away from everyone else, this group essentially constitutes a micro society. But is this micro society immune from social forces, such…

Sociology of Outer Space

Teaching Philosophy

In sociology, we spend a lot of time discussing and dissecting reasons and consequences of social inequality. My mission as an educator does not stop with my students’ mastery of the content of the class. I am pushing for more. I want my students to apply sociological concepts to understand and to solve real world problems. My students ought to become active and well-informed citizens and community leaders.
To achieve that, I strive to broaden students’ horizon and to deepen their critical thinking skills. The road to success starts with an inclusive syllabus that represents authors from different gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds. I will not compose a specific ‘minority’ or ‘gender’ week, but rather have a syllabus that overall reflects more than just the White Middle-Class American narrative.
I encourage students to question everything, but they must use factual and theoretical evidence from a respectable academic source to back up their ideas. I am a proponent of the student-c…