We are wishing Merry Christmas to all Georgians and Happy New Year to everyone!
As some of you may know, the Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas today, January 7th.
Georgia has its own traditional form of Christmas tree called chichilaki. Chichilaki are made from dried hazelnut branches that are shaved and gathered in bunches to form a small celebratory tree which is decorated with nuts, fruits, and ornaments. They are said to resemble the famous beard of St. Basil the Great, the Georgian Santa Claus. Chichilaki are considered to be the tree of life, symbolizing hope and belief. During Soviet times, this tradition was banned along with many other religious practices and was revived after the fall of the Soviet Union.
We hope that all of you who are celebrating today have a wonderful holiday and that this celebration of light and joy carries us all into the New Year.
Photo of chichlaki: Irma Laghadze