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New Year in Georgia


Christmas in Kakheti was celebrated with boiled pork's head and feet. Later it has changed with pork barbeque and Muzhuzhi – hard boiled pork’s feet seasoned with vinegar, coriander, garlic and salt. A whole boiled hen with walnut sauce is also an important attribute for the Christmas table.

 

Kakhetian New Year's tradition considers cooking corn with walnut and garlic. Traditionally grains are taken as a symbol of prosperity and fertility and it has to be presented on the New Year’s feast. There are two more must-have of the New Year - a good, sugary Churchkhela and some crunchy Gozinaki.

First day of the New Year is called Kalanda in Guria. Traditionally everybody would wake up at the cock’s first crow and were meeting the day with a gunshot in the air. Mekvle – the very first person who stepped into the house should have brought Chichilaki and a tray full of sweets and fruits.

Now every Gurian family bakes Christmas pie – a sort of Khachapuri stuffed with boiled eggs and cheese rounded into a crescent. Turkey Satsivi and pork are also traditional dishes for Kalanda.

Imereti and Samegrelo regions have almost similar traditions. Satsivi, Khachapuri and Gozinaki are there a must. Walnut salad variations – pkhali - were added to the necessary-list later in the 20th century when green-house produced vegetable became available to the population.

In Samegrelo families roast piglets and prepare Gomi and Elarji meals. Western Georgians like Kupati for the New Year as well. In Samegrelo Kupati is made out of haslets. They gets hung at the fireplace and smoked for a long period of time, while Imereti and Guria people make minced meat Kupatis. All these regions commonly prepare Gozinaki as Georgian winter celebrations are unimaginable without it. Western Georgians make whole hazelnut churchkhela called Janjukha.

 

Adjarians meet New Year with Baklava and Achma – a sort of cheese lasagna. They also spread prosperity grains in every corner of the house and place a bowl full of wheat, honey and nuts on the central table of the house.

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