Traditions, Food and Wine

Since Georgia is at the junction of Europe and Asia, any tradition here is presented in a moderate way.

Family is one of the cornerstones of the Georgian life style. Georgian table has a deeper implication than an ordinary meal. The table is led by “Tamada”, toaster maker, who makes traditional toasts, which is interpreted by each member of the table before drinking it. Traditional Georgian Tables are usually accompanied by singing.

Georgian National Cuisine is remarkable for an abundance of various kinds of meat, fish and vegetables, various sorts of cheese, pickles and pungent/hot seasonings.

Meals usually start with an array of hot and cold dishes which may include spicy grilled liver and other insides, like Lobio (Beans and walnut salad), Pkhali (young spinach leaves, pounded together with spices), Khachapuri (consisting of layers of flat bread alternated with melting cheese), etc.

Georgians are proud to live in the place where wine was born. There’s been wine in Georgia almost as long as there have been Georgians. Most families make their own wine, storing it in Qvevri (large sealed clay vessels) set into the floor of a room (known as the Marani – Wine Cellar).

There is a big choice of dry and semi-dry wines: Tsinandali, Gurjaani, Rkatsiteli, Manais Mtsvane, and others, as well as the red wines, fruity and dry respectively: Akhasheni, Mukuzani, Teliani; Sweet wines: Kindzmarauli, Saperavi, Khvantchkara, etc.

Perhaps the best know wine is from kakheti – wine Tsinandali, a white wine made since 1886 from Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane Grapes, which are left for weeks to macerate with their skins, as for red wine, giving a strong tannic flavor.

At the other end of the country, in Imereti, they make lighter, more flowery wines; here vines are allowed to grow high on trees and the grapes are collected in a pointed basket known as a gideli which is lowered down on a rope.

As for the Sparkling wine (‘Georgian Champagne’), which are also as famous as other sorts of wine, are mostly produced in factories nationwide rather than in the villages.

National Spirit is also in Georgian Chacha, firewater made as a rule from grain, although in Svaneti where grain does not grow, they use bread instead. Georgian Chacha is one of the strongest Georgian drinks, though very tasty and popular among the population.

Georgians are popular with their dances and singings. Famous dance ensembles, like “Erisioni”, “Sukhishvilebi National Ballet”, etc, are known all over the world. Their amazing dances are worth of seeing. As for the songs, Georgian ones vary with their talent of singing in different voices, which reaches each listener to the deep of their heart.

As for the churches in Georgia, anyone is allowed to enter, but dressed in an appropriate way; women usually wear long dress or skirt and do not enter the church bareheaded.

Georgians love their holidays and annual events, as followed:

Art Gene (Festival Exhibits Modern and Traditional Folk music, exhibitions and sales of folk handicrafts as well as traditional cousin in order to promote Georgian cultural Heritage. Every year Festival has a new main theme in order to give each annual Art Gene festival its own distinct profile);

Tbilisoba (Annual October festival, celebrating the diversity and history of Tbilisi, capital of Georgia. It was first held in October 28, 1979 and has since become an established tradition. The festival features open-air concerts of traditional music and dancing with various cultural events centered on Old Tbilisi, the historical part of the city);

Black Sea Jazz Festival (Traditionally in the mid July Batumi hosts this event organized by Easter Promotion. The six-day jazz event offers a tasteful music to the admirers of jazz all around the world. 4 stages, 21 bands, 37 shows and participants from 11 countries make Batumi the center of summer vacation);

Tbilisi Open Air Festival (An international music festival organized annually in June. Festival unites and brings together musicians from all over the world);

Tbilisi International Films Festival (festival founded in 2000 has nowadays become very popular. The main goal of festival is to promote the art of cinema and establish contacts with professionals in this sphere. Festival has to official awards “Golden Prometheus” and “Silver Prometheus”).

Public Holidays:

January 1 – New Year’s Day
January 7 – Christmas (Orthodox Church)
January 19 – Natlisgeba (Epiphany, Orthodox Church)
March 3 – Mother’s Day
March 8 – Women’s Day
April (usually) Easter Sunday and Monday (Orthodox Church)
May 9 – Victory Day
May 12 – St. Andrew’s Day
May 26 – Independence Day
August 24 – Constitution Day
August 28 – Mariamoba (Assumption, Orthodox Church)
October 14 – Sveti-Tskovloba (Mtsketa)
November 23 – Giorgoba (St. George’s Day, Orthodox Church)

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