The grand know-how of Georgian supra
17 August, 2015
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Toasts are made with either wine (usually) or brandy (occasionally, either local or imported), and nothing else – toasting with beer is a TERRIBLE insult!
If you are being toasted, you are supposed to wait until the tamada has finished, then stand up and thank the toaster. Then, you should wait until everyone else is done before drinking your wine in one go. If the tamada says Alaverdi! to you, you should elaborate on his toast. If a large ram or goat’s horn (called the khantsi) is brought out during the meal and filled with wine, then an honored guest – perhaps you – is supposed to drink it to the bottom.

If someone else is being toasted, the easiest advice is to wait until everyone else is drinking to drink your wine. Other than that, it’s good advice to be quiet while the tamada is talking, and remember the various other rules of etiquette in Georgia, some of which are, not putting feet on the furniture and not chewing gum in public.

The proper response to Georgian toasts is “gaumarzos”, meaning literally ‘to your victory'; pragmatically it is equivalent to ‘cheers.’

Immediately after the toast, people clink glasses with the tamada. Normally, when a foreigner is present, the tamada starts with a toast to long-lasting friendship with him or her.

Traditions and national values are frequently mentioned. Every foreigner is paid the compliment of being a good representative of his or her country, and is assumed to be proud of this. The second toast could be to the guests’ home countries, to their families, or to family in general. Toasting mothers is obligatory, as is toasting friendship, deceased relatives, existing and future children, peace, love, and the hostess.

The tamada can combine topics into one toast, or split topics into several toasts. The more people present, the more formal the toasts. At evenings with close friends, the toasts are often quite witty and short. The course of toasting follows a variable thematic canon, which is accommodated to the specific occasion.

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