There is always something charming about Christmas festivities in Georgia.
During this day, the atmosphere is often filled with love, warmth, and support as people welcome the birth of Jesus Christ.
Every Georgian has a festive mood, with the same being replicated in the streets and churches.
The streets are often decorated with beautiful and colorful Christmas illuminations.
It is at this time that you can hear Christmas carols nearly in every church you pass by.
Christmas is celebrated in January
Surprisingly, Christmas in Georgia is celebrated on the 7th of January.
This is because Georgians use the ancient Julian calendar for their festivals.
According to the Julian system, the 7th of January marks the end of the great fast.
On this special day, Christians from different parts of the country meet in their respective churches.
They hold an exceptional service in remembrance of the day.
After the service, some do break to join with friends and relatives for celebrations.
In Georgian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘გილოცავ შობა-ახალ წელს’ (gilocav shoba-akhal c’els). It is interesting to know how people wish Happy or Merry Christmas in other languages.
The majority do join the popular traditional celebration known as Alilo.
Here, people parade in streets of major towns while carrying the Georgian flag.
People do dress in colorful attires that accompany the occasion.
Children are usually dressed in white attires to symbolize blemish-less infants. On the other hand, adults are typically dressed like shepherds.
This dressing is meant to signify the magi who visited the infant Jesus at the time of his birth.
According to the biblical gospel, Jesus was born in a manger.
The shepherds were among the first to see the newborn Christ. Therefore, adults’ attire symbolizes the gospel shepherds, while children represent the newborn Christ.
Why children enjoy Alilo Celebrations
Children, in particular, enjoy Alilo celebrations since they are usually given candies by the locals, just like Jesus, who was given gold, myrrh, and frankincense.
Alilo celebrations are usually open to everyone who would wish to participate.
Clergies from different churches also join in the procession. They carry crosses as they lead the congregation.
Also, people engage in different kinds of spiritual songs and carols.
Also, during the Alilo procession, people collect gifts, clothes, and food which are later distributed to the orphanages.
The disabled, the elderly, and the sick also benefit from these collections.
People merrily greet each other to wish them a happy day by saying ‘Gilocav Shoba-akhal c’els’ to mean ‘Merry Christmas.’
Georgia version of Christmas tree, Chichilaki
The traditional Georgian tree known as Chichilaki is also an essential part of Christmas celebrations.
The tree is usually made from dried hazelnut/walnut branches.
For most Georgians, the Chichilaki tree is generally considered to be a sign of belief and hope for a better future.
Therefore, they shave the tree and carry it during the procession.
After the celebrations, everyone congratulates each other on the birth of Jesus.
The church leader is then given the platform to deliver a speech regarding the special day.
Once this is done, people to disperse to their homes carrying the joy in their hearts.
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Main Points About Christmas in Georgia
- Christmas in Georgia is a time to express warmth, support, and love in Jesus’ name and it is celebrated on the 7th of January.
- On Christmas day, thousands of people come out wearing costumes and carrying the Georgia flag on a parade (Alilo) on the streets.
- Christmas carols are very popular in Georgia and they are also sung during Alilo.
- During Alilo, people wear a gold, white and red colored robe. They collect food, money and treats to donate to the poor and needy.
- Usually, a service is held to usher in the day, then, friends and families go celebrate afterward.
Christmas in Georgia is a special day to show love, passion, and support to one another in remembrance of Jesus’ birth. Arguably, Georgia is one of the best places to celebrate your Christmas.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Georgia
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Georgia. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.