Georgian New Year traditions

Georgian New Year traditions

The New Year, or “Akhali Ts'eli”, is very loved by Georgians; it is celebrated with their characteristic scope and respect for traditions.

We've all heard legends about Georgian feasts, and the New Year's table describes them especially vividly. An abundance of poultry dishes (it is especially important to cook satsivi, chicken in nut sauce) and meat - roasted pig (sometimes even a pig's head) and a variety of shish kebab; there should also be khachapuri on the table, fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits and, of course, wine. And for life to be sweet in the New Year they prepare gozinaki (nuts with honey).

МАМА ТУТА НА ЗООЛОГИЧ, МАРИНОВАННЫЕ ДЖОНДЖОЛИ, СЫР ГУДА, РЕБРА ЯГНЕНКА НА УГЛЯХ С ЗАПЕЧЕННЫМ ЧЕСНОКОМ 2 (1).jpgIn addition to the large festive table, there is a smaller table - Tabla. Closer to midnight, it is covered with sweets and candles are lit on four sides. According to tradition, they are cast by the mistress of the house - it is believed that this brings prosperity to the whole family.

Wine, as at any supra (feast), flows like a river, but on the New Year’s Eve there is also a tradition of “ganskhvavebuli”. Wines are drunk from vessels of different shapes and sizes and special eloquent toasts are told.

Be sure to sing the traditional Georgian song “Mravaljamier” - a hymn to life, peace and well-being of the Georgian people. It is sung everywhere: in city squares, in churches, at home at the table.

Children are waiting for Georgian Father Frost, Tovlis Babua. He brings gifts in a large bag with bells - “khurdzhini”, inside among presents kids find traditional gozinaki, sweets and dried fruits. Adults are waiting for mekvle, person who will be the first to cross the threshold of the house in the New Year. This is also a tradition, because if a person is kind, successful and rich, then the whole next year will be like that. It’s not forbidden to push your luck a little and invite just such a friend to your house first :)

Even the Christmas tree in Georgia is a very special curly chichilaki. It's a hazel branch with long white shavings; they symbolize the beard of St. Basil, who blesses all household members.

МАМА ТУТА НА ЗООЛОГИЧ, ДЕТАЛИ ИНТЕРЬЕРА (1).jpgWe asked our Georgian brand chef Gia Khuchua about his family's New Year traditions.

First and foremost is a family New Year celebration. There sure must be gozinaki on the table. The eldest member of the family (Khuchua’s grandmother) brakes off a piece of gozinak for each person and tells everyone to “grow old just as sweetly” :)

МАМА ТУТА МСК, ШЕФ-ПОВАР ГИА ХУЧУА 3.jpgAnother tradition is to celebrate Bedoba. January 2 in Georgia is the Day of Fate or – Bedoba. How you spend this day that's how the whole year will go. And everyone tries to spend it with their family and in a good mood.

Take note and maybe try the same :)

Happy New Year!

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