Orthodox Christmas celebrations in Georgia
08 January, 2018
Like many Eastern European countries, Georgia started the celebrations for Christmas Eve during the night of the 6th of January.
Parishioners during the Christmas service at the Church of St. George in Tbilisi's district Saburtalo.

Churches all around the country were filled with believers who
attended the special Christmas service that traditionally lasts four to five hours. Many Orthodox Christians have been fasting to prepare for Christmas. They were not allowed to eat meat and milk products.
The Holy Communion at the end of a several hour Christmas service.

The Holy Communion at the end of the Christmas service marks the end of the great fast. Many people celebrate the end of the fast with a feast – at home or in a restaurant. In Tbilisi, many restaurants throughout the night were filled with people eating traditional Georgian meat dishes like Khinkali.
Participants of Alilo marching through Rustaveli Avenue on Sunday afternoon.

In the afternoon of the 7th, thousands of people gathered for the traditional Christmas march Alilo, named after the Georgian song Alilo. Orthodox Christians throughout Georgia take part in this event. Among the participants is clergy of different churches, parishioners and children wearing the Stikari – a gold, white or red colored robe worn by the priest’s assistants.
Girl and boy dressed up for Alilo in traditional clothes.

The marchers sing, carry crosses and icons and collect food, sweets and other things. The goods are later distributed to people in need and orphanages. In Tbilisi, Alilo starts at the Rose Revolution square and ends at the Holy Trinity Church Sameba with a service held by the Patriarch Illia.
Thousands of people took part in the march that ends at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Sameba.

Author: Simone Herrmann

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