Merry Christmas from Georgia!

Unique Traditions For New Year And Christmas In Georgia

By Kidworldcitizen

e082a9ef10607de9e792544f18bd16d1 The traditional Georgian Christmas tree, called chichilaki in Georgian, is not green. Georgians have been making the Georgian-style Christmas tree since ancient times. Environmentally friendly Chichilaki originated in the provinces of Guria and Samegrelo, the western part of the country.Chichilaki was decorated with the two bow-shaped items called Kalpi and Bokeri. Kalpi was made from ivy leafs and Bokeli was a bread baked with eggs, flour, and cheese both as the symbols of life and fertility.

At first sight, nutwood twigs with long fluffy shavings may seem quite unattractive if you are used to lush green, fir-tree branches. The curly shavings, which the master removes moving upwards from the bottom, are called basila in honor of St. Basily’s beard, the patron saint of animals and harbinger of new happiness. A wooden cross is usually attached to the top of the chichilaki and the tree itself is invariably decorated elegantly with fruits, berries and flowers. Unfortunately, this beauty doesn’t stay long: after the holidays, people burn their trees, symbolizing that the previous year’s misfortunes go up in smoke.

More familiar Christmas concepts have a place in Georgian festivities, as well. Santa Claus, known as tovlis bubua (Grandpa Snow), is usually depicted wearing traditional Georgian clothes and a fur cloak called a nabadi. Although Grandpa Snow doesn’t have reindeer, but he still is believed to visit homes on Christmas Eve, leaving presents for the children.

Mekvele is another typically Georgian New Year’s tradition.  The first person to come into one’s house on New Year’s with “happy feet’ symbolically brings in joy and prosperity. He or she is showered with candies and in return presents the hosts a basket with delicacies wishing the upcoming year to be satisfying and sweet.  Those said to have “happy feet” are invited to Georgian households to provide good luck for the family.

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