Georgians are big on cultural and religious celebrations when towns come alive with festivities and activities. Georgia’s rich traditions are manifested in festivals that commemorate national unity and other milestones in history (such as Victory Day), along with other secular holidays that are lovingly observed by high-spirited locals.
New Year’s Day
New Year's is the favorite holiday of almost all locals and is often an extension of the festivities of Christmas time. It is celebrated with lots of food, free-flowing drinks, Georgian dances, choir performances, and the lighting of the midnight sky with colorful, flashing fireworks.
International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day
Celebrated on March 8 and March 3 respectively, these holidays show the Georgian’s high regard for women. City streets are buried in flowers which locals purchase to honor their mothers, wives and grandmothers. There are plenty of festivities, shows, concerts, charity events, and folk festivals.
March 9 marks Georgia’s Victory Day, which celebrates the country’s freedom from fascism. In Tbilisi, Victory Day takes place in Vake Park, where exciting programs are held from dancing to brass band playing, plus the laying of flowers at the foot of the park’s eternal flame and memorial. It is also a day for remembering war veterans and heroes.
In addition to St. Valentine’s Day, Georgians celebrate Love Day on April 15. This April observance is marked by gift-giving, romantic evenings and all things red.
Held on May 14 each year, Tamaroba is the celebration of the reign of one of the greatest Georgian monarchs, Queen Tamar, who lead the country into its golden age. This day of remembrance is honored throughout the country, but the main festivities are held in Akhaltsikhe and Tbilisi.
While Georgia’s independence was really dated March 31, 1991, locals celebrate their freedom on May 26, which when the country became its own state. Traditionally, a military parade is followed by a huge gala concert and the festival of flowers in Vardobistve takes place. This event transforms the Bridge of the World into a big, colorful ark of flowers.
Ninooba means the Great Church Holiday, which is dedicated to the arrival of Saint Nino, who first converted Georgians to Christianity. The celebration is held on the first day of June, when believers go on a pilgrimage following in the footsteps of Saint Nino that passes through the Mtskheta-Bodbe route.
This large spiritual feast is celebrated by Georgians every October 14. It is based on the miraculous acquisition of the country's greatest relic—Jesus Christ’s tunic—which was the reason for the establishment of the Mtskheta Cathedral. A festive service and a mass christening are held at this time.
St George’s Day
Annually on November 23, Georgians remember Saint George the Victorious, one of the most legendary characters in the history of Christianity. On this day, churches ring their bells and believers pray for peace, welfare and health. Locals prepare festive meals and families sing traditional songs.
Christmas sees churches begin solemn liturgy as early as the night before Christmas Day (December 25) with services beginning in festive parades called alilo. Believers and priests walk down the street carrying icons, crosses and banners while singing about Christ’s birth. On Christmas Eve (December 24), candles are lit in Georgian houses and festive dinners are served.