Saturday, December 16, 2017

Georgian Feast

 

Hospitality

Every guest is God-sent” (Georgian proverb). For centuries Georgian people developed traditions of hospitality. Love and boundless respect for guests, devotion to host's duties, traditional feast are passed from one generation to another. As a result Georgian culture is distinguished by high culture of hospitality. In the past centuries the people of Georgia even had special guest rooms or even separate houses the doors of which were at all times open so that a guest could come, eat and spend the night there.

According to Georgian national poetry hospitality is appreciated more than bravery, courage and skilful weapon handling. Georgian folklore idealizes a hospitable, generous owner and blames avaricious one. Great attention is also given to the morals of a visitor. The visitor should be reserved, modest and kind person. According to Georgian (and Caucasian) traditions of hospitality a visitor handed his weapon to the host or the senior person in the family. This highly moral behavior of the visitor projected trust, expressed fidelity and respect of the host. It meant that the visitor had good intentions and came to the family with peaceful and friendly intensions.

Georgian Feast

pirosmani75An obligatory attribute of Georgian and Caucasian hospitality is a feast arranged in perfect order, demanding good behavior and observance of appropriate etiquette. A special person who makes sure it all observed is called tamada (toastmaster). The entire holiday will depend on the wisdom and eloquence of the tamada and his toasts. As the old custom goes the host himself has to play the part of tamada. Otherwise he is chosen from among the most respected and decent people. Holding a feast is a complex and critical task: a tamada has to supervise the feast progress skillfully maintaining the order, follow the toasts, avoid verbosity, alternate toast with jokes or funny stories.

Besides, the host should pay attention to everyone around the table not to offend anybody even inadvertently. A good tamada makes sure no one get too drunk quickly and maintains the unity of the feast. At the same time he can't push too hard limiting wine consumption and offend a guest. In other words it is a special delicate art which has been improving for many years.

A Georgian feast is necessarily accompanied by toasts. Toasts express the best regards of hosts and guests. They bless families, wish prosperity and overcoming of all obstacles in life; health and happiness, worthy repulse to enemies; toasts accuse evil and eulogize good nature and sincerity of people.

There are certain rules of toasts making. The first to be said are obligatory toasts. They can be greeting toasts, a wish of well-being; then goes a toast-congratulation on the celebrated event. Toasts to health of parents, peace in a family are also obligatory. After the main toasts improvisation begins. One of the last toasts is to a tamada to thank him for perfect feast. The final toast in most cases is pronounced to the Saints guarding and protecting the participants of the feast, and to the hosts to thank them for hospitality and wish them good luck and health.

And of course a Georgian feast is always accompanied by music, cheerful energetic dances and beautiful harmonious songs.