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Lelo Burti 2023

More than a just a sport, Lelo Burti is a spectacular ritual event


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It might seem odd that the most active participants of a sp​orts event are actually priests, but not for traditional Georgian rugby games! It all starts with a priest opening the event by throwing the ball. The main rule is that there are no rules.

Players divide into​ two teams representing different villages. The ball, made of leather and filled with dirt, is rather heavy. To win, the team has to bring the ball to a certain place in their own village, and the winning village has to bring the ball later to the grave of a recently dead person and leave it there for good.

The game is played on Orthodox Easter in the Shukhuti village community near the city of Lanchkhuti. This area embraces two villages—Zemo Shukhuti and Kvemo Shukhuti which compete with one another.

There is something in the atmosphere of the Lelo Burti resembling the Ba' Game in Scotland—both games are rooted in the traditions, and the players are so into the game that it gets rather violent at times.

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