Thursday, April 07, 2005

Run-off Girls

So, for the start, let me tell you about a completely strange thing in Azerbaijan. I haven't heard about such a thing in other regions or countries so I assume it is a unique phenomenon.

It is called "qiz qachirtmaq" and it means "to take or steal a girl". Of course this is done with the girl's own agreement. Well, how can anyone take a girl from her father's house without the agreement of girl or someone else in the house? Usually this is done when the father or other members of the family don't give permission for their girl to be wed with someone she likes or for any other reasons. In this kind of situation the boy, with probably some help, makes some arrangements with the girl to take her and hide her for some days. After this, as the girl hasn't returned home for several days, if the father doesn’t let this marriage happen that girl would be dishonored, so the father would prefer to let this happen. Other people of the family might come to get the father's permission. Then, maybe for some time the father won't want to see his son-in-law and his daughter but things get better as the time passes. This tradition (if I can call it a tradition, because I don't know any other word for it) is now very rarely seen. Maybe in villages or traditional families but right now the way of marriages are changing very fast as most of the boys and girls have girlfriends and boyfriends right now. And this might seem strange for a country known for its strictly Islamic laws and traditions.

And for "qiz qachitmaq", in my family I know two of the girls which have done the same thing in recent years and I also know some old women in the family who have got wed in the same way. From those two girls, one of them is my cousin and the other is my cousin's cousin. The second one fell in love with a boy when she was in high school and one day she ran off with the boy after school time. Her father was an old army man and he was hospitalized because of this but after, when things got a little cooler they married and now they have a 7 year old son. On the other hand, the first case was my own cousin. She had a sister older than her but nobody came to their house to ask her father's permission for his older daughter but at the same time the younger sister had several boys wanting to marry her. Her father didn't want to give permission to his younger daughter when the older girl was still in the house. He could not be blamed because that would have caused his older daughter to stay at home for the rest of her life. So my cousin and her mother went to a village near my hometown, Urmia to her uncle's house and the next day we heard that she has run off with her cousin. Her father, my uncle, didn't want to see her for several weeks but now they have a happy life together and they have a four year old son.

And for the arranged wedding and the relation of boys and girls today in Iran I must write another post. For now I think this might be interesting enough to have a whole post for itself!

1 comment:

KL said...

Heeyyy...I love it :). It's soooo...romantic :):). Cool, yaar (that's an Hindi word meaning friend, pal, etc).

But, I've a question: if the girl runs away, and after several days the boy for some reason doesn't want to marry her, what happens? Can she come back home and will she be accepted?

So, I think this tradition needs a little change - run away and marry at once (a simple one). After parents agree, have a full-blown high festival marriage.

In the post you have a line: 'it's strange concept with a strict Islamic law." What's the strange concept? Running away? Are Azheris all Muslims? If so, which brand of Islam - Shia, Sunni or Sufi - do they practice?