• Mariam Gevorkian

Bride Napping - a tragic tradition that has slipped into modern day reality

Updated: Nov 22, 2018

Every time I leave the house looking mighty fine my parents joke and say I’ll be kidnapped and turned into someone's bride. In my mother's family of 3 daughters, 2 were bride napped but thankfully the custom has been in rapid decline in Armenia as society has developed and moved away from social customs. Yet this tradition prevails in rural locations mainly belonging in the region of Eastern Asia. 

Kyrgastan is a land locked country located next to China. Once part of Soviet Union, Kyrgastan celebrated the end of Communism by adopting Islam as the national state religion. Nevertheless Kyrgystan retreated back to practising one of its most oldest and controversial traditions, bride napping.

Kyrgstan has exceedingly received attention on the global platform regarding the outdated and atrocious tradition yet there is nothing being done to effectively prevent the custom. A tradition so controversial but still ongoing inspires one to question its origin. As its prevalent in both Christian and Islamic societies, it has indicated its alleged prominent role in forming societies.

The process consists of the ' bride to be' being kidnapped by her 'husband to be' and being taken to his house to be convinced by the mother of the kidnapper of why her son is an eligible suitor. A documentary capturing this process (produced by VICE) displays the utterly atrocious and dehumanising scenes of a female attempting to run away whilst other women try to tame her so that she doesn't run away. As a female I feel humiliated and outraged by this primitive social construct which is ruining the lives of these women everyday.

Kidnappers accordingly have a completely different view, with one from the documentary claiming that "this is a tradition and you can't change it" before he expressing that he "fell in love the first time I saw her" whilst addressing his bride who he kidnapped. Oddly enough in some cases the men and women are in relationships and even have plans of marriage for the future yet the male still undergoes this ancient tradition as a gesture of taking the first steps towards marriage.

It appears that the custom is collectively purposed for one thing and one thing only. The assertion of masculine dominance and power. A country like Armenia once also held gender roles which executed power to men however Armenia has since become more contemporary and modern in it's view of man and woman. This prevails in other regions which have not yet endeavoured a similar enlightenment, mainly due to lack of economic resources.