Celebrating New Year in Georgia now and then
29 December, 2016
Celebrating New Year in Georgia now and then
New Year can be considered one of the most beloved and popular celebrations in Georgia. The fact that a number of traditions are connected to this festivity in all regions of Georgia and the celebrations last until January 14th, known as Old New Year, Georgian New Year according to old calendar, serves as a proof to that. During the last days before the New Year approaches you will see overcrowded markets, where the three main products in demand are walnuts, turkey and piglet to prepare the core dishes Gozinaki (Georgian candy with nuts and honey), Satsivi (turkey in walnuts sauce) and roasted pork for the occasional table. But the preparation for the most wonderful time of the year can be observed at best at Georgian households were most of the housewives are busy doing household chores and preparing a big assortment of dishes.

Georgia's President Giorgi Margvelashvili and First Lady Maka Chichua at market
geotv.ge
geotv.ge
Main Christmas tree of Tbilisi
geotv.ge
geotv.ge
Satsivi and Gozinaki

As a rule, almost everyone meets New Year with family at home and then goes out with friends, in most occasions visits several places in one night or on the contrary expects guests, especially Meklve, the person who first crosses the threshold and who is responsible for bringing good luck to the f
amily that will affect the whole year. Even though, some customs have been worn-out and replaced with simply hanging out with friends at restaurants and clubs, yet some of them are still widely practiced throughout the country. So here we would like to tell you about some of the most basic rituals connected to the New Year in Georgia:
geotv.ge
Illuminated Tbilisi from Mtatsminda (Holy Mountain)

In western Georgia on New Year’s Eve, the head of the family would go out with Chichilaki and a festive tray full of fruits and Georgian sweets. Bread with honey was later replaced by Gozinaki, the delicious candy made of walnut and honey, an absolute necessity of the New Year.

In Guria, the New Year’s herald will go to the domestic store of wine called Marani as well and pray for the fertility of vine. The institute of Mekvle is firmly preserved here too. This person, who is often a small boy, is believed to bring joy, success, happiness and prosperity.

Chichilaki, Georgian alternative to Christmas tree was crafted by hand from wood and decorated with sweets, fruits and nuts, as a symbol of fertility and fruitfulness. Even at present chichilaki is thought to be an essential part of New Year decoration that must be present in every family and must definitely be burnt down at the end of New Year celebrations. Every year a new chichilaki must be purchased and subsequently thousands of these curly white trees are made and sold annually.
geotv.ge
In Eastern Georgia, the New Year was also always met with joy. A Georgian version of gingerbread named basila used to be baked. The cake was called basila after the saint Basil who used to live in the fourth century. At present this tradition has been almost faded away.

New Year was considered a family celebration, so in many cases family members used to stay at home, but on the very second day the feast shifted to the city streets. The city architecture also played its role in making it easier to celebrate different occasions in an urban environment. At that time the houses in Tbilisi had flat roofs that often served as perfect locations for gatherings and feasts.

The tradition of Mekvle was another curious and interesting Christmas custom that is still common in every household. Mekvle is a person who first crosses the threshold of the house after midnight, when the New Year officially begins. It is thought that some Mekvles can bring happiness, prosperity and fertility but others can bring unhappiness and bad luck. That is why, even nowadays, people are very careful when selecting a person to invite into their houses in advance, and making sure nobody crosses the threshold before the selected Mekvle shows up.

Another interesting practice during New Year was when the head of each family went out and made one or more shots in the air with his gun. Hence, the New Year’s Eve was so noisy that people often joked that if you had not known that it was New Year then you would have probably thought that there was a war. Today shots have been replaced with fireworks that create amazing scenery in the city.
geotv.ge
Related stories:

How Georgians Celebrate the New Year and Christmas

How Tbilisi celebrated New Year in the past – Traditions you have not heard about

Print
Other Stories
“I want to confess that for my family you are a saint” - Sheikh Ul Islam to Georgia’s Patriarch
"You may never hear anything like this happen in the world: the Muslim sheikh visits the Christian patriarch, kisses his hand and recognizes him as his elder."
Fast buses may appear in Tbilisi soon
Fast buses moving on separate lines may appear in Tbilisi soon,
Polluters to be fined in Tbilisi from today
Beginning from today, the street inspectors will fine the individuals and legal entities for polluting.
Georgia enlisted in low-risk countries list on ‘Bloomberg Risks Map’
The U.S. Bloomberg edition releases the global risks map assessing the threats world’s countries are facing.
Inside the Lives of Georgia’s Child Brides – National Geographic
Mari, 15, lives in the Adjara region. Most girls her age drop out of school to get married. Her grandmother believes it’s a tradition meant to be passed down.
Inheriting the Future, the Georgian-German Year 2017
On April 21 the Georgian-German Year 2017 will officially begin, with an opening ceremony to be held at Tbilisi City Assembly,
Holy Fire descends upon the Tomb of the Jesus in Jerusalem
Holy Fire has descended upon the Tomb of Jesus Christ at the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem today.
Georgian inscriptions on the tomb of Jesus Christ and the Holy Land
‘Golgotha chapel belonged to a Georgian brotherhood and the inscriptions were left by the monks who served there’.
10-year old Georgian ‘business kid’ in pursuit of happiness
Sandro Kantaria is 10 years old but he already has his own income.
Travelling by Tbilisi metro will be free on Easter
In relation to the Easter holidays, the subway in Tbilisi will work with extended schedule.
Vazha-Pshavela reading space to be opened in National Library of Georgia
Great Georgian author Vazha-Pshavela’s reading space will open in the National Library of Georgia.
Georgian team rank 3rd at Google programming competition
Georgian software specialists have taken the third place in a Google’s competition called Hashcode, where 2815 teams from Europe and Africa were participating.
Riverbeds to be freed from buildings in Tbilisi
Riverbeds will be freed from buildings and transformed into recreational zones in Tbilisi.
Movies with smoking scenes might be censored in Georgia
Smoking in films may be censored in Georgia. The amendment offers that the movies, where characters smoke, be shown only during hours when the underage don’t watch it.
Where donors' money is spent - social activists creating artificial problems?
It is necessary to protect the labor rights and we all want the situation to improve in our country in this regard. However, by the campaigns based on lies, the very idea is being discredited.
80 GEL for dropping cigarette – Littering penalties determined in Georgia
Street inspectors will maintain cleanness in the city and determine polluters from today.
3km long bike lane to be established in Tbilisi
3 kilometer long bike lane will be set up at Mirian Mepe (King Mirian) street in Tbilisi.
Plastic bags to be banned in Georgia from September
Polyethylene bags will be forbidden in Georgia soon.
Famous Sukhishvili Diet: Get perfect shape rapidly
Summer is approaching and everyone wants to get into shape and loose some extra weight.
Visa-free travel to EU countries: Must-know tips for Georgian citizens
The visa-free travel regime for Georgia with Europe will take on March 28. Citizens with biometric passports will be able to travel to the Schengen countries
Inspectors targeting polluters to appear in Tbilisi in April
Street inspectors responsible for fining street polluters will appear in Tbilisi from April 3.
11 people in a week: Alarming statistics of road accidents in Georgia
Eleven people were killed in road accidents throughout Georgia last week.
New parks to be constructed in Tbilisi districts
Several new recreational areas will appear in Tbilisi.
Temperature anomalies detected in Georgia at different times
The storm that hit Imereti region of western Georgia yesterday is of anomalous nature, the National Environmental Agency claims.
First Georgian researcher obtains Gail Kelly Award in education field
The doctoral thesis of a Georgian researcher, Nutsa Kobakhidze, was evaluated as the best by the American International and Comparative Education Society.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Other Stories
More and more Georgian alternative musical bands are emerging on the scene.
Wooden products are gaining popularity on Georgian market, including glasses, watches, bags, etc. A new item was added to that list recently – bows made of natural wood.
Georgian citizens will be able to enter the EU without a visa for short stays, under a new law passed by the Parliament on Thursday, - Official website of European Parliament reports.
The heavy fire has entirely destroyed the building of a trade centre Chidren’s World last night.
The world-famous American musician Moby expressed his support to Georgian rock band The Mins at the nearest Eurovision contest publicly.
In all prisons throughout Georgia a special Christmas service was held.
An awesome footage featuring foreign students singing Georgian song has gone viral on social media.
Have you wondered how New Year was celebrated in Georgia and what it looked like in the past?
Company GD ALCO, the leading distributor of premium spirits in Georgia, hosted yet another very respectable guest, Guilliame De Guitaut, the brand ambassador of Hennessy,
Elle, a popular French magazine focusing on fashion and beauty, listed jacket designed by Balenciaga’s Georgian creative director Demna Gvasalia among 10 Most Wearable Winter Trends.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.4444
EUR
1
EUR
2.6590
GBP
1
GBP
3.1330
RUB
100
RUB
4.3614