Dear Friends, We send you a greeting this holiday season in the form of an animation made by the students of Nikosi Art Education and Rehabilitation Center. You may recall that in a recent email we told the story of the purpose and founding of the Center which was formed to help heal the children who were most affected by the conflict with Russia in 2008. Metropolitan Isaiah, the Center’s founder, was an animator before entering the priesthood and, clearly, he has passed on his skill and passion to his students.
The carol the children are singing in the video is sung during Alilo, a Christmas tradition dating back to the fifth and sixth centuries. During Alilo children take to the streets in costume, sing carols, and collect food, gifts and sweets from their neighbors. What the children collect is gathered in churches. From there it is sent to those in need; to orphanages, nursing homes and prisons.
The Georgian Christmas Carol, Alilo On the twenty-fifth of December, Christ was born in Bethlehem as they say, Alilo. A bird sat on a hedge, was proclaiming Christ’s birth, Alilo. Alatasa balatasa, I put my hand in the basket, Alilo. Arieli marieli, Don’t let me go empty-handed, Alilo.