Celebrate Easter like Georgian

Georgia is an Orthodox Christian country and Easter here is celebrated on a different date than in the rest of the world. As our country is very religious, Easter is a significant celebration of the year. Easter in Georgia will probably seem a bit different which involves special meals, red-colored eggs, and a massive amount of Easter cakes. So before visiting beautiful country Georgia during this festivity, you need to know how to celebrate it like a local.

To begin with, start growing easter grass. As Georgians we call it “Jejili”. To do so, you need to wet cotton pads in water and set them on a plate. Sprinkle a handful of wheat grains and let it develop roots and grow. According to Orthodox Christianity, green grass signifies the new life Jesus gave us after his resurrection.

Dye eggs in red on red friday

Red Friday is a public holiday in Georgia and the day everyone needs to dye the eggs in red before the sunset. dying eggs in red colour in connected with crucifixion of Jesus. Red Friday is the hardest day for all Orthodox Christians. The very important and interesting ceremony of Deposition of Christ is conducted in the churches. This symbolizes human death of Christ, his descent from the cross and burial.

To dye eggs in red you will need to use one pack of well washed and squezzed “hendro” and 1 liters of water. Boil the “hendro” for 15 to 20 minutes let it cool down and put eggs inside. cook eggs fo 12-15 minutes after boiling and later you can polish with oily cotton.

For detailed information on how to dye the eggs please see the video below.

Prepare Easter Paska

On Easter besides dyed eggs we Georgians cook special cake called Paska. Baking Paska requires a lot of time, patience, and effort. The typical Paska has raisins inside, but some also include different types of confit.

Attend a church ceremony

The most significant part of the celebration is the miraculous appearance of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem a day before Easter Sunday. Thus, Georgians go to church in the evening to participate in the celebratory service and ritual called Litonioba. We pray, listen to the Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II and wait for the delegation to bring the Holy Fire. The whole process lasts until the early morning.

Congratulate everyone and crack the egg

Once the mass is over Georgians are celebrating each other with the words: “Christ has Risen!” The response: “Indeed He has Risen!” and start cracking the eggs.

Pay respect to the dead

On Monday, we Georgians tend to visit graveyards of our relatives and pay respect to the dead. Visiting graveyards has a sacred meaning for many locals. Under Soviet rule, churches in the country were closed, thus people started to go to graveyards to pray. They would light up a candle at the gravestone and sit for a while. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the tradition still remains.

As Easter marks the resurrection of Christ and symbolizes eternal life, we celebrate the holiday with our entire family, living or dead. Therefore, you won’t see sad faces on graveyards, as we go to reunite with our relatives and let them know that Christ has resurrected.

It’s customary to give a toast in respect of the deceased, thus there is always a small feast. When drinking and toasting the dead, Georgians pour a small portion of wine on the grave. I know it sounds a bit astonishing but the idea behind it is that we Georgians express a hope that they won’t be alone in the afterlife, and that our relatives will also come to visit our resting place and remember us.

Tamar Bichiashvili

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