If you are an eligible Georgian bachelorette with no dowry, worry not: the government has you covered. Under a new initiative from the Ministry of Justice, all newlyweds will get a copy of the national epic poem – The Knight in the Panther’s Skin – as a gift or, as the Ministry has phrased it, a “dowry,”
The 12th-century masterpiece by Shota Rustaveli is the story of a panther skin-clad knight’s quest for his inamorata. It is a sort of literary bible for Georgians, and the poem’s aphoristic verses are often quoted in casual conversations.
The Justice Ministry says it has restored an ancient tradition, when “a bride’s family would provide as a dowry The Knight in the Panther’s Skin, an inestimable treasure and a must-have for every new family.”
The ministry added enthusiastically that “couples will get their copy of Knight in the Panther’s Skin along with their wedding certificate and it will serve as symbol of eternal love, faithfulness and equality.”
Some prospective brides were amused by the news. “Ah, I was just waiting for this, now I’m good to go,” one woman quipped on the Ministry’s Facebook page. “What do we get for a divorce?” wondered another.
Giorgi Lomsadze is a journalist based in Tbilisi, and author of Tamada Tales.