Georgia Celebration: Easter

April 4th 2023 in Celebration
Georgia Celebration: Easter

Easter in Georgia 2024

Apart from Christmas, Easter is the most important festival in Georgia because it honours the essence of the Christian faith, namely the resurrection of Jesus.

Easter is celebrated on a grand scale throughout the country. Still, it is hampered by a 40-day religious fast that culminates in Holy Week, during which the last days of Jesus' life are remembered. Special liturgies are held every day at every cathedral in Georgia. MaundyThursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday are the most important Holy Week liturgies.

On Maundy Thursday, foot-washing ceremonies are done in cathedrals and monasteries to commemorate Jesus' Last Supper and Foot Washing. To celebrate Christ washing the disciples' feet, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia washes the feet of 12 church servants in Tbilisi. To signify the beginning of the Passion, all vestments are changed to dark colours in the evening.

Good Friday commemorates Christ's crucifixion; as such, Georgians sometimes refer to it as Red Friday. Boiling and painting eggs red to represent Jesus' blood, the eggs are put on green wheatgrass on Palm Sunday. They begin growing the grass a week in advance as a sign of new life, resurrection, and eternity. They also make a type of Easter cake known as paska. A ceremony commemorating Jesus' departure from the crucifixion is held at churches. When reading about Jesus' death and burial, an icon picturing Christ's body is removed from a cross, covered in a white cloth, and hidden.

They take the eggs and Georgian Easter cake to churches to be blessed on Holy Saturday

evening. On Saturday evening, the most devout parishioners congregate to spend the night praying and anticipating Jesus' resurrection on Sunday morning. A unique wailing service is held in churches. At the same time, people await the coming of the Holy Fire, which appears miraculously each year in the symbolic tomb of Jesus at Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The fire is then flown to Orthodox countries such as Greece, Georgia, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia, where church and state authorities welcome it.

Easter Sunday begins with chants of "Christ has risen!" followed by "He has risen truly!" For good luck, paska bread is eaten, and eggs are cracked. In a particular game, each player chooses an egg and begins tapping it on their opponent's egg. The person whose egg cracks first loses, and the person with the fewest cracked eggs at the end of the game wins.

Georgians pay their respects to the departed by visiting relatives' graves the following Monday. (Some people do this on Easter Sunday as well.) People light candles and place red Easter eggs on the grave. During the toasts in honour of the departed, a tiny bit of the wine is poured onto the tombs to "clink" glasses with the deceased. Meat meals, desserts, khachapuri bread, and pastries are widespread. People in Georgia celebrate Easter as a sign of resurrection and eternal life, thinking they will be reunited with their families in the afterlife.