There are many different traditions of celebrating New Year in Georgia. One of them is the "Mekvle” tradition. It is very important for the family to choose a person, so called “Mekvle”, who will be the first to step into their house after midnight, congratulate them New Year, bless family members, give sweets and wish all the best for next year. This tradition has significant importance because the abundance of the future year depends on him/her.
In Georgia, New Year encloses its essential attribute “Chichilakli” - Georgian traditional Christmas tree made from dried hazelnut or walnut branches that are shaved to form a small coniferous tree. The Georgians believe that the shaved tree resembles the famous beard of St. Basil the Great, who is thought to visit people during Christmas similar to the Santa Claus tradition. It is also believed that Chichilaki represents the tree of life, a symbol of hope for the Georgians.
Alilos's tradition, which was based on charity event, is similarly held in different parts of Georgia. Christmas procession begins after midnight. Christmas heralds, mostly children, stop in front of every house gate, sing Christmas carols and congratulate Christmas to the citizens. There is also a big celebration in the city streets on Christmas Eve. People with big baskets, full of products, sweets, money and different things march in the streets of the city and give them to poor. This procession continues the whole night.
In Georgia people still preserve these ancient traditions, it does not matter whether they believe them or not. For this and for many other reasons it is very interesting for tourists to celebrate Christmas in Georgia, discover new or already forgotten traditions and become the part of this unforgettable celebration.