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Just like every country, Georgia has some unique traditions and customs that might seem surprising to many foreigners. Those customs have deep roots in the history and evolved over the time. Familiarize yourself with Georgian culture with this guide to six customs and traditions that are unique to the country.
Orthodox Church marks St. Barbara Day on December 17. St. Barbara is a patron of children. On this day, every family bakes lobiani, a black bean pie. However, according to the church, this is only a local custom and has nothing to do with the day itself. Another custom in many families is to spread rice across the house for prosperity, luck, and well being.
Georgia follows Orthodox Church and the Julian Calendar, which places Christmas on January 7. However, there is a song dedicated to Christmas Eve called On December 25. Just like St. Barbara’s Day, January 7 has special meals locals offer. Guruli Gvezeli, a type of Khachapuri with boiled eggs and cheese, is a common dish that came from the western part of Georgia, Guria, and popular across the country.
Georgians are firm believers of faith. Bedoba, or the “Day of Faith,” is celebrated on January 2. The day is a public holiday and, according to the custom, how you spend Bedoba forecasts the year ahead.
Every Georgian dinner has a toastmaker, or Tamada in Georgian. The person is the “leader” of the dinner, whose main job is to keep a pleasant conversation with the audience present at the table, entertain them, be respectful and deliver good toasts on different topics. Being a Tamada at a big celebration is a respectful and responsible task, as is choosing the right person for it.
After the wedding day, close friends, relatives, and family members of the bride and groom get together for Namtsetsoba, or The Leftovers Day, in English. The reason its called The Leftovers Day is that they bring the food left from the previous day and continue celebrating this special day.
It’s customary to drink mineral water to cure various health problems. The country is rich in natural springs that are believed to have curing effects. Therefore, drinking a bottle of Borjomi, a local mineral water, to cure food poisoning, nausea, and hangovers is a custom every local follows.