Georgian toasts and how to raise them in a correct way
20 June, 2018
Georgian Sufra is unimaginable without Tamada. It is like to imagine members of symphonic orchestra to play without a conductor. This time Georgian Journal has decided to tell you about toasts of ordinary Georgian Sufra and about rules how to be a good Tamada.

Tamada is a person, chosen by fellow guests who leads feasting, says toasts and maintains order among friends.
Picture by Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani shows guests enjoying Sufra. Photo courtesy:

Tradition of Tamada, or chairmen of feast
comes from Bible. It gives advices how to behave while feasting. For example, Tamada should not look down on fellow guests, should take care of them at first and take his place only after that. Tamada should speak, but not too much.
Georgian Sufra is renowned for its dishes. Photo courtesy:

According to Georgian traditions, host raises first toast and chooses one person from guests. This man ought to lead Georgian Sufra afterwards. In Georgia, host takes care of his guests, so that they do not stay unsatisfied. Tamada is the one who maintains order among guests and pays attention to them. He can give remarks to those who brings disorder among guests.
Tamada says a toast. Photo courtesy:

Georgian toast always carries positive content. It contains excitement and compliments directed to fellow guests. A toast should not contain negative feelings. There are so called compulsory toasts and Tamada should not omit any of them. Apart from compulsory toasts, Tamada can raise other toasts as well and their content and importance depends on his skillfulness. Despite the fact that sequence of toasts are defined, Tamada still can change their order and show his individual style.
Georgian Sufra looks so tasty and rich. Photo courtesy:

Second toast is raised by newly elected Tamada. If Sufra takes place at home, it is directed to host, otherwise Tamada shows his gratefulness and drinks. Third toast is dedicated to fellow guests.

Forth toast is very interesting and important. By raising it, Georgians commemorate their relatives and friends, who are already deceased. They drink this toast standing. Fourth toast is connected with religion.
Sometimes guests drink wine from traditional drinking vessels. Photo courtesy:

Next toast is dedicated to parents – guests wish those who are present long and happy life, as for those who are deceased, they wish them to rest in peace and to obtain kingdom of heaven.

Other toasts carry general character and include different issues. Fellow guests may even drink for those who have merit towards their homeland or for those, who live in a neighbouring house.
Mtsvadi, or fried pork on skewers is always served with onions. Photo courtesy:

Tamada may direct to fellow guests personally and ask them to continue a toast started by him. They are supposed to finish a toast in a proper way.

During a feast guests drink personal toasts which include compliments. They always mention strong sides of each other and praise them for friendship, support and courage. They wish each other success and welfare.
Fidel Castro and Nikita Khruschev enjoying Georgian Sufra. Photo courtesy:

When Sufra is over, the oldest among guests raises and thanks Tamada, praises his skillfulness and wishes him luck. The last toast is more like a prayer to the Holy Virgin. Guests ask her to protect the family of their host and themselves.
Some dishes are prepared on a clay plates, called Ketsi. Photo courtesy:

First photo courtesy:

Related stories:

Vegan dishes of Georgian Sufra – What does Georgian cousine offer to Vegans

Georgian cheese boat Adjaruli Khachapuri - New York Essential Dish

“My dream is to visit Georgia one day” - Traveler from NY prepares Georgian dinner with friends

Famous US chef and author recommends: Visit Georgia!