Georgian hospitality

Georgian people are famous for their hospitality. They respect guests and are good at being friendly and generous while entertaining them, especially in their own home. They give parties in honor of certain respectable people, or for a special events like a wedding, a birthday, a housewarming, Christmas, Easter, etc. If you are invited to one of those parties try not to miss one as it is supposed to be a real performance put up by the toast master, or the " TAMADA".
The Tamada acts like a director of the party announcing traditional toasts to peace, health, happiness, well-being , etc. Tamadas can make exceptional toasts. Guests at the party are like actors responding to the toasts and often with their own interpretation.
So, a toast-master ought to be eloquent, intelligent, smart, sharp-witted and quick-thinking, with a good sense of humor because very often some of the guests might try to compete with him on the toast making.
Songs have always accompanied the Georgians in joy and sorrow, in battle and labor. Special drinking songs and wedding songs ( if it is a wedding party) as well as chants full of humor, sung by guests during the course of the party contest. It may sound strange but sometimes even events of social, economic and political significance are discussed during the table talks, and some problems are solved peacefully. The atmosphere at the Georgian table is so friendly and candid that even the enemies are likely to make up. If there is enough room at the party you make take part in folk dances. In these dances and at the table men outgh to be gentlemen and try to be very polite and respect the ladies. Most Georgians play piano and guitar. Most of them study it themselves at home. So, do not surprised if you see Georgian play musical instruments and know that he (she) had never go to musical school.
As for wine, it has been adored by the Georgians as a symbol of strength and beauty, keeping our spiritual balance and always filling us with stamina. Georgia is rich in wines and it has been the pride of Georgian people cultivating it for centuries and loving it as their own children. Most Georgians have their own wine at home.
Do You Want to Know Where the Georgian Man Reveals Himself in All His Splendor? This is the Georgian Table !
Where do we come from? Georgian roots can be traced back before Christian period. There is much enigmatic and unidentified with us which is beyond conscious perception. And only intuition we feel that there is something sacred and cosmic in it. Such is the Georgian table. The whole ritual is submitted to the common rules. The word reigns over the Georgian table. At the beginning of the table a toast- master is appointed either by a host or by guests and almost in a few minutes he becomes a leader of the revelry. A toast-master should undoubtedly be an eloquent and intelligent person. He conducts the table according to the order set by the ancestors. First of all, he is to toast the hosts and wish them happiness, longevity, success and reproduction. High-flown and magic words seem to help a toast-master to establish contact with the Heaven. All wishes expressed in a toast are usually accompanied by direct appeal to God: God! help us in all our deeds.
One of the most important toasts is a toast devoted to the memory of deceased ancestors. having poured some wine on bread, a toast-master crosses himself and prays God to be merciful to the souls in the other world. But you shouldn't expect a toast to the deceased to grow into mysticism. Never. For Georgians consider this world and the other world to be an indivisible entity.
At the Georgian table a toast-master bridges the gap between past, present and then the future. It seems that not only the guests, but their ancestors and descendents are invisibly present at the table. A toast-master toasts them with the same love and devotion as the other members of the table. When drinking some toasts all men have to stand up and drink wine in silence. A toast can be proposed only by a toast-master and the rest are to develop the idea. Everybody tries to say something more original and emotional than the previous speaker. The whole process grows into a sort of oratory contest.
A toast master arranges breaks from time to time. The thing is that there are special toasts which according to the ritual should be accompanied by a song or a verse. Almost everyone in Georgia has a good ear to music and good voice. Old Georgian drinking-songs are melodious, polyphonic and rather complicated. Some of them don't need any accompaniment. The choir of men creates musical background. Modern drinking-songs are usually performed to the accompaniment of the guitar or the piano.
The Georgian folk dances are rather common for the Georgian table. The Georgian dance is distinguished for its aristocratic restraint and steadiness: a man is a knight, a lady is as delicate and gracious as a fairy. Their restrained, smooth movements express flaming emotions. The toast-master has to propose a toast to every person at the Georgian table and so have the others. every speaker tries to distinguish the most interesting, original and praiseworthy features of a person toasted. But it should not be considered to be flattery. These are lessons of love and humanism. This tradition ennobles a person. When a person is told that he is kind and honest he will find it difficult to do evil. When he is told he is generous he will try not to be greedy. When he is told he is handsome and beautiful, there is less probability of developing the inferiority complex. What is it? May be it's a psychoanalytical method widely used in Georgia long before Zigmund Freud's Birth?
Love, life, friendship and other abstract notions are subjects of eloquent toasts at the Georgian table. Every speaker tries to express his personal understanding of these notions. When a person is toasting, the rest are listening to him with great attention and respect. The revelry never grows into an unrestrained drinking-bout.
The table has come to an end. A toast-master proposes a toast to the Saints patronizing the Georgian people. Finally, one of the men proposes a toast to a toast-master and thanks him on behalf of all guests. As a rule the table is full of dishes as the Georgian cuisine is diverse and delicious. On arrival to Georgia you will have a chance to try Georgian toasts and enjoy both wine and food!