07 January 2012

Merry Second Christmas!

As some readers may remember from last year, Christmas comes a little later in Russia. The same is true here in Georgia, where the Georgian Orthodox church celebrates the occasion on the 7th of January. It's actually not that big a deal - businesses remain open, life goes on as usual. Still, it's exciting to see Christmas trees!
This stunted little thing was in the house of a family in Mestia, where they seemed a little confused about its purpose.
Eastern Orthodox churches use the Julian calendar for the dates of their feasts and holidays, though the countries themselves use the Gregorian calendar. There is currently a difference of 13 days between the two, so things happen a little later here.
This is the national Christmas tree, in front of Parliament on Rustaveli Avenue, in Tbilisi.
We've tried to wish people a Merry Christmas, but have mostly received blank stares. Even when we use the rough Georgian translation - "gilocavth shoba" - it doesn't seem to register. New Year's Eve is a much more widely celebrated event - the biggest holiday of the year, in fact.
The tree in Signaghi is placed not in front of the town hall, but in front of a more prominent landmark - the casino.
Santa Clause has come to Georgia, slowly displacing the older, communist-issue "Grandfather Frost." One cell-phone company made all their employees dress in fluorescent orange suits, complete with beard and boots.
For some reason, we're still laughing about this picture from Belarus. In that officially religion-less country, Santa (despite appearances) isn't really Santa, but just a red-wearing Grandfather Frost (how appropriate!). He tends to be accompanied by his granddaughter, the "snow maiden."

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