All our stories are about couples from different countries who have chosen Georgia as the place to join their hearts. They also choose different traditions, but we have never told you about the original Georgian wedding traditions. We’re fixing that in this article, especially because there is a lot to say.
Traditions carried through the centuries
Time refuses to stand still, people’s culture is changing, and new relationships in the family and reassessment of old customs appear with it. For example, in our time, the bride’s face is not covered with a veil before the wedding, and horses, sheep or copper utensils are not required as a dowry. Significantly reduced the time for preparation for the ceremony and the wedding itself. Earlier in some regions of Georgia, such as Svaneti, more than a year could pass between the betrothal and the wedding itself. Now most often from the first stage to the last passes no more than one week. The feast itself now also does not last for 7 days and rarely stretches even for 2 days. Classical Georgian weddings preserved the main points of the ritual and represent an organic merging of traditions with new foundations of life.
Each region of Georgia is famous for its unique rites, which are still observed in remote regions of the country. Well, a modern Georgian-style wedding traditionally includes:
Such a ceremony as matchmaking is still an important stage in preparing for the wedding. The groom must ask the bride’s hands and hearts from the parents. Without the consent of the parents, a couple may not wait for happy family life. Usually, machankloba takes place in the form of a family dinner.
Nicheba, a rite of betrothal
The main thing in this ritual is the presentation of a wedding ring to the bride, which is often an heirloom inherited. The bride’s family invites the groom to her and is obliged to set a rich table for the celebration for 50 or more people. During a niche, not only a golden wedding ring is given to the bride, but also perfumes, expensive wine, cognac and chocolates. In response, the girl’s family gives the groom a golden bracelet or chain and puts it on during the feast.
Cortzili, wedding celebration
The celebration of the wedding can drag on for a couple of days and usually takes place noisy and crowded. The wedding is celebrated according to all traditions by the groom’s family. It is customary to invite all family members, so more than 500 people attend the celebration at numerous births.
By tradition, the first meeting of the bride and groom before the wedding takes place in the house of the bride, where the girl prepares for the ceremony and sets up a buffet table. The bridegroom is supposed to very loudly – with noise and cheers – announce their arrival. In most cases, the groom is not allowed to go to the bride immediately. Here is another ancient tradition – the ransom of the bride. The male part of the bride’s family arranges a test for the groom and tries to find out how much he knows her well. Questions are asked in a comic form and a ransom is requested. All this staging skirmish takes place in front of the closed bedroom doors, in which the bride is waiting for her narrowed. When both sides come to an agreement, the groom enters the bride with a large bouquet of flowers.
In addition to the bouquet, shoes should be presented to the young man as a gift. After that, another rite that pays tribute to ancient traditions: the groom affectionately and with great respect puts on his future wife’s shoes in a sign that now he will provide her in everything. If the ceremony did not happen, then this may cause surprise and misunderstanding in a traditional Georgian family.
The bride should not leave the parental home without a groom. They must come out together, it is always very touching for the parents of the future couple and few can hold back the tears of happiness at this moment.
The image of the modern Georgian bride has undergone changes. Even at a traditional Georgian wedding, the bride can most often be seen dressed in European style. A fluffy white dress that complements the lace cape and sheer veil. The groom often puts on traditional clothes – “Chokha” or a black formal suit.
Feast, toasts and dagger ringing
Traditionally, regardless of the region, they tried to play a wedding by the end of autumn or winter. The best day of the week for a wedding was Saturday on a full moon. And in Mingrelia they loved to celebrate the wedding and the wedding on Sunday because for them it is the happiest day of the week.
When it comes to the wedding itself, the whole Georgian flavor is used. Georgian wedding table is bursting with treats. A wedding without a pig simply can not be. Unusual for foreigners, it may seem that the cake is cut with a dagger. Another element without which it is difficult to imagine a Georgian wedding is a toast. Each toast, the recitation of which is conducted by the host, is dedicated to the newlyweds and is full of deep meaning. A guest who has been given the floor should say a toast and drain the horn completely.
The role of the toastmaster at the Georgian feast deserves special attention because this is the most authoritative and respected person at the table. A close relative or a specially invited person can become a host. The most important thing, firstly, this person should enjoy authority, and secondly – to be able to manage the feast according to all the rules, and thirdly, according to legends, he should not get drunk. Everyone listens to and respects the host, he leads the toasts: he says them himself or passes the word to one of the guests, which is called “Alaverdi”. Thanks to this traditional word, “dialogue in toasts” is formed. Near the host, there is always a person; in Georgia, they call him “merikipe”. ” He makes sure that everyone has wine in the glasses, pours it in time – this is his only task at the feast.
A church wedding in our time is no longer an obligatory ritual, but many young couples still prefer to tie their knots in heaven and undergo a ceremony in the church. After the wedding, another colorful and original ritual is performed – friends or artists in national costumes build a corridor of blades for a young couple through which they must pass. The ringing of blades protects the young family and prophesies a happy life together. By the way, this is one of the few attributes of a traditional Georgian wedding, which foreigners who have decided to celebrate their wedding in Georgia are happy to borrow.
National dances and Georgian polyphony
You can not imagine traditional Georgian weddings of local residents and foreigners without dances and polyphonic singing. Only talented artists are invited as dancers. It is difficult to look away from their performance. At a traditional Georgian wedding, newlyweds must also perform a traditional dance. It is always the same for everyone, with certain music, with certain movements, and is called “Kartuli”. This is a long-established tradition, and no variations are provided here. Although it is called the dance of love, the newlyweds, dancing, do not touch each other. “Kartuli” symbolizes the gentle, respectful attitude of the groom to the bride and fascinates all guests at the festive table.
Not a single wedding feast goes without songs. It should be noted that UNESCO recognized Georgian songs as a unique phenomenon in world culture. At the wedding, singers are exclusively men. Very often these are whole ensembles of up to 15 people. Their polyphony sounds amazing and clings to the very heart.
The traditional Georgian wedding, although it underwent changes with the passage of time, but retained all the basic primordial rites and rules. If you want to add a little Georgian flavor to your wedding, we will help you find the best singers and dancers who will decorate your wedding and leave an unusual and unforgettable experience.