Written by Mariam Devadze

I am from Georgia where the official religion is Orthodox Christianity. Therefore, 25th December is not really the Christmas day for us. We actually celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January. Also, we do not really have what they call Christmas spirit. Rather, we have New Year’s spirit.

So, to get to the point, we celebrate New Year like many countries celebrate traditional Christmas. However, celebrations vary from family to family, and according to family traditions. So, talking about traditions, it is a must in my family to celebrate New Year together. This is why every year since I left home to study abroad I come back to spend time with my family and friends.

We have many ways in which we say goodbye to the previous year. We get rid of a lot of stuff in the house, old clothing items, things we never use – we give them away to charity, which is a way to enter the new year with clearer, less crowded space. We make some very good food, and on 30th and 31st you will see Georgian moms in the kitchen creating cooking masterpieces (usually our traditional food).

We decorate the house and set the table to be together when the clock ticks midnight when we open the champagne and start cheering.

I love how our city gets covered with fireworks and people are screaming, wishing each other ‘Happy New Year’, trying to call relatives and friends (which never works as the lines get busy).

One of the interesting things my family does is to make me stay outside the door until the clock ticks midnight, so I am the first person to enter the house. I bring in the water – so that the year will be smooth and calm, I throw in candies and rice to bring prosperity and happiness. After that, we usually spend some time at home and then go out to enjoy New Year concerts. During New Year, we always watch certain movies that keep repeating every year, but you still enjoy them nevertheless (Mamma Mia is a must for me).

We also go visit our relatives and friends wishing them a Happy New Year and throwing candies at their doors. I must say, the way we celebrate New Year is quite nice with a lot of positive memories to make you enter the next year very happy.