Honoring deceased lelo players

On Easter Monday, families visit their ancestors' graves. You can see lelo balls in various stages of decomposition can be seen on graves in both of Shukhuti's cemeteries. The balls honor a deceased lelo player; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

Alexander Imnaishvili visits the grave of his brother, Tornike, who died in a car accident at the age of 20; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012. 


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

2 Responses to Honoring deceased lelo players

  1. sherry says:

    Did they die playing lelo??? What a rough game. What does it symbolize? Miss you both.

    • keithrkenney says:

      No one has ever died playing lelo (yet), but there are lots of minor injuries and bruises. As with any tradition that is hundreds of years old, there are multiple ideas about its symbolic value. I’m waiting to get my interviews translated in order to give a better answer.

      Hope all is well with you.

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