Christmas celebrations in Armenia and Georgia

Christmas celebrations in Armenia and Georgia

Christmas is the most important holiday with traditions celebrated in every Christian country. Today we’ll tell you about the interesting traditions of Christmas celebration in Armenia and Georgia – two hospitable countries of the South Caucasus.

Christmas in Armenia

"Christ has been born and appeared to us! Good news to you and us! ", that is how Armenians greet each other on Christmas Day. The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Christmas on the 6th of January, a day earlier than the Orthodox Church. The Armenian Church has preserved the ancient tradition of celebrating Christmas and Epiphany from January 5 to 6, while the Catholic Church celebrates those holidays separately.

"Chragaluitz" is the evening of the 5th of January, when Armenians bring lights from churches. The light is the symbol of the star of Bethlehem pointing the way to the baby Jesus.

Christmas celebrations in Armenia and Georgia

The Christmas Liturgy and the Holy Communion begins the next morning. All the churches hold a festive liturgy, but the main event takes place in Echmiadzin town at the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin at the head of the Catholicos of all Armenians. The great service ends with the Great Sanctification of water as a symbol of the Baptism of Christ.

Christmas, like the New Year in Armenia, is a family holiday. After the service, the parishioners carry the holy water home and get ready for a Christmas dinner. Traditional festive dishes of the Christmas table are pilaf (rice with dried apricots and raisins), fish and gata cake for dessert. The fish is served with red wine. Each dish of the festive table has its own symbol. Thus, rice represents the people, dried apricots and raisins are the chosen ones by God, the fish symbolizes Christians, and red wine is the blood of Jesus. The round gata is cut into 12 pieces symbolizing 12 months of the year. Traditionally, a coin is hidden in the gata, and the one who finds the coin will have a lucky year.

If you want to spend New Year or Christmas in Armenia you can just contact any local tour operator like Arara Tour and spend unforgettable holidays.

Christmas celebrations in Armenia and Georgia

Christmas in Georgia

In Georgia Shoba (Christmas) is celebrated on the 7th of January. On this day all the people leave the houses and go to monasteries and churches to celebrate Christmas. Each region has had its own traditions of celebrating Christmas, honored to this day.

Alilo starts after the Christmas service (the name originates from the word Hallelujah). It is the day of the praise of God, the day when the candles are lit as a symbol of the light of Christ. On this day, according to tradition, men walked about the houses and sang songs. The hostess met the guests with sweets and fruit. In the Tusheti region, by tradition, the hostess presented a large pie "Alilo kotori" to the singers.

Christmas celebrations in Armenia and Georgia

To this day, the traditions of Alilo traditions have been preserved in Georgia, the only thing that has changed is the children leading the procession instead of the men. Children dress up as shepherds and the Magi, presenting evangelical characters.

For Christmas, Georgians serve satsivi, a traditional chicken with nuts, corn porridge with suluguni, kozinaki (nuts with honey) and a piglet with ajika, the main dish of the Christmas table. In Kakheti, the traditional dessert is the churchkhela.


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