Local traditions and culture in Georgia

  • The Pipe and Parasol: Helpful Symbols to Know
    The Pipe and Parasol: Helpful Symbols to...
    by Hanka
  • Churchkhela for sale in Mtskheta, Georgia
    Churchkhela for sale in Mtskheta,...
    by SWFC_Fan
  • Churchkhela for sale at Didube market, Tbilisi
    Churchkhela for sale at Didube market,...
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Most Viewed Local Customs in Georgia

  • Hanka's Profile Photo

    Georgians Are Night-Owls

    by Hanka Written Jan 6, 2014

    Most Georgians are night-owls and stay up at night until 2:00 in the morning. Most Georgian businesses do not open before 10:00 in the morning, so most Georgians do not get out of bed before 9:00 AM. If you're an early bird you might appreciate having the countryside, the roads and the sites to yourself in the mornings. Gas stations are open 24/7 and there are many kiosks that are open in the early morning hours if you need to get something small to eat. Some cafes might have morning hours or stay open around the clock during the weekends. 10:00 AM is also a good time to go shopping if you want to avoid crowds. Since Georgians are late to bed and late to rise, their meals are consequently later as well: Lunch is popular around 2:00 PM and dinner after 8:00 PM. This means if you eat your meals at 12:00 and 6:00 PM, you will avoid the crowds and the cigarette smoke.

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    If You Like Peace and Quiet... Bring Earplugs

    by Hanka Written Jan 6, 2014

    Georgians seem to love loud noises. If you are a peace and quiet loving person, you will certainly be bombarded with loud noises here in Tbilisi, if not the rest of Georgia.

    If you go to a restaurant after 8:00 PM be prepared. Most large restaurants will have night club singers, jazz bands, a laptop "jukebox" or traditional Georgian musicians performing. Regardless of their forte, they will be hooked up to large overpowering stereo systems and played at concert level volume. I ate one dinner in a banquet hall in Kutaisi with 20 American tourists, where the entertainment was so excruciatingly loud that we gulped our drinks and crammed our food in our mouths and paid the bill before the fruit bowl arrived so we could escape as soon as possible. Another night a friend and I drove around Tbilisi near Old Town trying to find a restaurant playing traditional music; alas all the restaurants featured night club singers and the music was so loud we couldn't hear each other speak.

    If you stay in an old hotel with Georgian windows in a downtown area, you will probably be woken around 10:00 or 11:00 PM, or 12:00 AM, or numerous times in between by screeching tires, revving engines, broken mufflers, honking horns, kids yelling, drunks singing, stray dog fights, or fireworks going off not far from your building. Depending on where you are at, the fireworks could be part of a banquet hall celebration, or it could be the kids next door. Either way, it is likely to happen on any night of the week, and more frequently on the weekends. The firework activity reaches its peak between mid-December and mid-January surrounding Christmas and New Years, when everyone seems to be letting off fireworks. If you are on the street, you may feel burnt papers land on you head or get sprinkled by gunpowder soot. Some Georgians are even out there firing their guns in the air. The house that I lived got a bullet through the window on one of these nights.

    Now I'm sure if you are staying in a Western hotel with double-pane insulated windows with a good view of the city, the fireworks show might be quite spectacular! And if you are accustomed to loud city life, or young and thrive on nightlife, this exuberant type of ambiance will probably add to your experience here in Georgia.

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    The Pipe and Parasol

    by Hanka Written Apr 14, 2013

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    When in Georgia, it helps to know these symbols: the pipe and the parasol. It's hard enough trying to determine which bathroom to use if you can't read the Georgian language, but if one of these images are on the door, you will know that pipes are for men and parasols are for women.

    The Pipe and Parasol: Helpful Symbols to Know

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  • ninimetreveli's Profile Photo

    Georgia

    by ninimetreveli Written Jun 28, 2010

    “I even don't blame them if they think of the Stalinist era as an age of paradise”

    Where did u get that? :))
    Georgia achieved its renaissance and golden age by the young King David IV of the Bagrationi royal family, at the age of 16 (Builder and Georgian Reconquista)!

    Stalin, “Great Russian man”, Soviet dictator and political criminal, who led the Russian Bolshevik army into Georgia, which to this day continue to create great problems for Georgia's freedom and democracy, all but destroyed his home nation, simply destroyed the best parts of Georgia!

    Saakashvili faced many problems on coming to office. Still, it is a risky mix, but one with at least the potential of bringing significant progress towards development, stability, success and territorial integrity!!!

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    Georgia

    by ninimetreveli Written Jun 26, 2010

    "I'm only wondering how could this wonderful country and proud people produce such a monster as Stalin and such an idiot like Sakashvili? "

    well...hade to comment and get involved in political debates, but this is just not right in my opinion.
    Mikheil Saakashvili won the presidential elections in Georgia with more than 96% of the votes cast, making him the youngest national president in Europe.
    The reforms initiated by Saakashvili are considered to have huge success; still the rate of corruption in the country has drastically reduced.
    According to the World Bank accounts, Georgia is named as the number one economic reformer in the world and the country ranks as 11 in term of ease of doing business, when most of the country's neighbors¡¦ are in the 100s of the World Bank's rank.
    Finally, there is a big hope of restoring Georgia's territorial integrity and you are calling him an idiot?
    Wow, so sad... ļ

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    wine

    by ninimetreveli Written Jun 25, 2010

    "You might think that as a Pole you're throat is well trained, but you can't imagine how much wine and vodka a Georgian throat can take! :-) "

    Weldone! :))))

    *Yes, Georgians drink a lot of wine, but not every day. Only if there are guests over or something is being selebrated.

    *To refuse a glass of wine is rude,but to toast along,hold speeches and only drink symbolic sips from your glass is accepted.

    *To say that you have a hang over is not reccomendet since the local remedy for this problem is more alcohol or you run the risk that they start preparing "HASHI", soup made of cew feet and cow stomach- the ultimate hang over cure... :)))

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  • A Georgian Wedding

    by Nuaga Written Dec 15, 2009

    A traditional rural wedding - everybody has been invited: not only the villagers, but also the tourists who happened to be there. As the guests would not fit in any room in the whole village, they have gathered in the backyard of the bridegroom's house. Men and women are sitting apart. They are still waiting for the newlyweds, but the feast has already begun. Women will be bringing food to the table until the end of the feast. Finally, the newlyweds arrive and take their seats at the table, under a banner with an inscription wishing them happiness. In accordance with Georgian custom, the Tamad raises toasts, while men stand around the table. The cake is then cut into pieces and the dancing begins — mainly the traditional Lezginka. Naturally, the first dance belongs to the bride. The feast and revelry will last till morning.

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  • To the rhythm of Lezginka

    by Nuaga Written Dec 15, 2009

    When at the dawn of history God created the world, all nations gathered in one place, waiting for their share of the Earth. Each nation wanted to get a beautiful piece of land for themselves. They started to make a great noise, jostling one another. When the Georgians saw this, they decided they'd rather spend the time dancing, partying and feasting. Meanwhile, God distributed everything he had. However, when he heard the merry songs and inspired toasts, he took pity on the cheery, smiling people. To reward them for their high spirits and rustic joy, he decided to give them the most beautiful corner of the world, verdant, scenic, mountainous and fertile, one that he had intended to keep for himself.

    Dance, parties and feasts still play an important role in the life of the Kists — Georgian Chechens who settled in the Pankisi Gorge. They play musical instruments, sing beautifully and dance with great flair.

    The Daimoakh (“Homeland”) folk group was founded in the mid-1990s by Makvala Margoshvili, who is both its director and instructor. Among the singers are such celebrated Georgian artists as Keto Mutoshvili, Taissa Alkhanashvili and Mamuli. The dancers, both adults and children, perform mainly varieties of Lezginka, one of the most popular dances in Caucasus.

    Dressed in traditional Kist costumes, they sing and play both Georgian and Chechen songs, which imbues their folk art with a unique sound and colour.

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  • Women in the Muslim community in the PankisiGorge

    by Nuaga Updated Dec 15, 2009

    The Georgian Pankisi Gorge lies in the heart of the High Caucasus.
    The Kists came here from Chechnya 200 years ago and adopted many Georgian customs, but also kept many of their own.

    They still obey Muslim norms of social life. During visits to the mosque, women must dress in accordance with accepted canons, putting on a scarf, a long skirt or trousers. Not only in prayer, but also in everyday life they must conform to the strict separation of the world of men and the world of women.

    All physical contact between men and women is forbidden in the presence of other people. Courtship takes place mainly by means of gestures and facial expressions, but must never be witnessed by others. After marriage, the wife may not sit or speak first in the presence of her in-laws.

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    Money

    by josephescu Written Dec 3, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Not many POS, but ATMs in the centre of T’bilisi are common sight. You can cash in both Lari (2,3 lari/1 euro) and USD. There’re some ATMs just outside the railways station, in front of a bank kiosk on the left side.

    Should you have Manats left from Azerbaijan, they can be exchanged into Laris at quite reasonable rates in the exchange offices in the railways station. Banks won’t accept Manats.

    Georgian Lari
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    what did i sign?

    by josephescu Updated Dec 3, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Travelling by train from T’bilisi to Baku, I had to fill in and sign a sort of “customs declaration”. The only problem was that the paper was printed in Georgian only, with its marvellous hermetic letters. So I didn’t have the slightest clue of what was I supposed to fill in and where on the form. An English speaking local helped, but I still took some photos of the form I filled in, as putting my signature on that piece of paper was pretty annoying.
    At least I have a proof :-))))

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    Visa

    by josephescu Updated Dec 3, 2006

    Travelling to Georgia under a Romanian passport requires a visa, which can be easily obtained from the Georgian Embassy in Bucharest, in exchange of 2photos + application form + passport + visa fee. The visa is issued same day, in the afternoon.
    I even managed to get a two entry visa for 57 lei (less than 20 dollars), single entry visa 30 lei. Visa fee paid at bank indicated by the Embassy

    Georgian Embassy in Romania
    44-48 Mihai Eminescu street, Apt.8, Et.3, Sector 1, Bucureºti (near Piata Romana)
    Tel: (0040-21) 210.06.02
    Fax: (0040-21) 211.39.99
    E-mail: embgeoromania@yahoo.com

    Visa applications received between: 10.00-12.00 (don’t count on 10 sharp, better arrive a little later)
    Visas issued between: 15.00-16.00

    Some Georgian visa
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  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo

    Wish Trees

    by JohnniOmani Written Oct 2, 2006

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Everywhere in Georgia you will see ribbons or some type of material tied to trees. Local tradition has it that if you tie something around the branch of the tree then your wish will come true. I dont know if it will but now you will know what these ribbons / everything are all over the country.

    ribbons in Tbilisi

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    Toasting Order

    by JohnniOmani Written Oct 1, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Georgians have a very rigid order of toasting. The toast master will call on everyone around to listen as he addresses everyone at the table. The head of the table will (in an intimate atmosphere) will pour the drinks himself. They toast God first, dead grandparents, living grandparents, brothers and sisters and on and on and on until you usually are either on the edge of your chair or up dancing but overall be respectful and allow your hosts to open their hearts without being interrupted and you will experience hospitality that will blow your socks off! Enjoy!

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    Toasting

    by JohnniOmani Written Oct 1, 2006

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    Georgians love to toast at the dinner table but there are many rules and regulations involved with the whole process. For example, the guest should never toast without asking the main person at the table as it is considered rude to the hosting family. You should always toast (if given permission) with hard liqour / spirits as Georgians only toast their enemies with beer. There are many many regulations and I will add some more in my tip files. Cheers.

    oh the madness of toasting ;)

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Georgia Local Customs

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