Religious festivals and events in Georgia can be divided into two main parts: General orthodox festivals celebrating in all parts of the country and specific festivals celebrated in specific regions of Georgia.
Christmas: Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and on calendars of Georgia it is celebrated on 7 January (25 December on Julian calendar). Georgia has a special way of celebrating Christmas: people usually go on Alilo which is a modified pronunciation of Alleluia. Main members of this street mass walk are children and sweets are usually given to them by adults. They sing Christmas carols which vary across the provinces of Georgia. A local variant of Christmas tree in Georgia is Chichilaki, which is made of soft wooden material with curled branches. Nadzvis Khe is another type of Christmas tree popular in western part and has been imported through Russia.
Easter: Easter is the most popular in orthodox countries and in Georgia as well. The week before Easter is called Passion Week and services are conducted in every church in Georgia, but the most important days in the Passion Week are Passion Thursday and Good Friday. The Passion Thursday is connected to the last supper when Jesus Christ washed the feet of his apostles and Good Friday is connected with the crucifixion, lamentation and burial of Jesus Christ. On Saturday night all devout Georgian Christians go to church for the Easter service and stay there until late Easter morning. Then they break the fast and eat a special meal.
Georgian dye eggs red and bake Easter bread called “Paska”. Red eggs are associated with Christ’s blood. Eggs and Easter bread are placed on green wheat grass symbolizing new life and resurrection. Then take them to church for blessing. After service conducted in church, they take them back to their homes and break eggs during the next days.
Beside these two main orthodox holidays there are a lot of other religious holidays not less important. Among them are: Christ Baptism celebrated on 19 January, Dormition celebrated on 18 August, October, 14th-Svetitskhoveli Cathedral Day, November, the 23rd-Saint George Day and so on.
These holidays mentioned above are celebrated in all parts of Georgia, but there are also some specific festivals celebrated only in the provinces of Georgia: Racha, Svaneti, Adjara, khevsureti, Fshavi are among them.
Festivals and holidays in Racha:
Sajvareoba-is celebrated on the 8th Saturday from Easter. On Saturday horsemen from the village Gari go for a vigil to the Ossetian village “Kvaja”. During the august war between Georgia and Russia in 2008 Sajvareoba was put off because pilgrims had to go to the territory of Ossetia. It is a geneal rule for this holiday that only men are allowed to go up to the mountains. According to the legend if a woman goes, the weather changes and it will start raining.
Bubaoba-one of the important holidays celebrated in Racha. On this holiday pilgrims go to pray in the village Glola. In this case women are allowed to visit temple.
Kokhinjroba-is celebrated mostly in the high villages of the region Oni on 27 may. Easter holiday is specially celebrated in Racha.
Holidays and festivals in Svaneti:
Lamproba-is celebrated in all svan villages ten weeks before Easter commemorating St. George and the unity of village with candles for each male in the family plus one for St. George.
Giorgoba-is one of the most popular holidays for Svan people. It is celebrated two times in a year: 6 may-the birthday of St. George and 23 November-commemorating St. George’s martyrdom.
Kvirikoba-Kvirikoba is celebrated on 27 July commemorating Saints Kvirike and Ivlitta. On this religious festival one can find a lot of Alcohol-fuelled singing and a lot of religious observance involving the sacrifice of animals. This festival is linked to the saint Kvirike which was ta protector of the fertility of soil, man and animals.
Livskhvari-celebrated in the highest village in Europe, Ushgulion the 1st Sunday of August marking the start of grass-cutting season.
Holidays and festivals in Adjaria:
Kolkhoba-Kolkhoba is one of the ancient festivals celebrated in Adjara. it is held at the end of August or at the beginning of September. The myth of Argonauts is firmly connected with the kingdom of Colchis and the myth of Argonauts is performed on stage during the festival.
Machakhloba-The festival is held in September in Khelvachauri municipality. It is a traditional festival celebrated in mcxhakhela gorge, beginning at the point of convergence of rivers cholokhi and Machakhela and ending in the village Zeda Chkhutuneti.
Shuamtoba-is another festival traditional in Adjara, mostly in the regions of Khulo and Shuakhevi. It is popular festival with horse riding, folk handicraft products exhibition and a concert.
Holidays and festivals in Khevsureti:
Among the numerous religious festivals and events in Khvesureti Atengenoba is one of the best-known. It was quite popular in Georgia and Armenia, but today Atengenoba is celebrated only on the eastern mountains of Georgia, mostly in Khevsureti, Fshavi and Tusheti. This Christian holiday was established during III-IV centuries in memory of Bishop Atengen, Greek martyr. Though Atengenoba originates with religion, today it has nothing in common with Christian holiday. This is a typical folk holiday held on the 2nd half of July on different days.
Tushetoba-This is celebrated in the middle of August in Tusheti region
Lomisoba-lomisoba dates back to pre-Christian period, but today it is celebrated as a Christian festival. It is held on the 7the week after Easter. The main center of the festival is St. George’s church on top of a high mountain near the village Mleta, about 6km south from Gudauri. During the day people climb up to the St. George’s church on the top of the high mountain on foot because there is no road.