Cultural Travel - Georgia

    close to people - close to tradition


Ancient folklore


"When the Holy Mother of God was distributing land to mankind, the Georgians were late. Consequently no land was left for them. The Holy Mother decided, however, to give the Georgians a part of the land that initially was reserved for herself ".

Located at the borderland between Europe and Asia and with an ancient history and tradition, Georgia has a rich source of myths and legends. The legend about how the Georgians obtained their land, is only one among countless Georgian myths and legends going back to ancient times. The most famous of the myths is about Jason and the Golden Fleece from Greek mythology, where the argonauts under leadership of Jason were traveling to Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece. Another example is about the vikings entering the Black Sea by the water-way of Volga, landing at the Georgian region of Guria at the east coast of the Black Sea. Approaching Guria the vikings believed they had found Valhalla, the ultimate destination for vikings who were leaving this world in war or in other heroic ways.

Legends and myths play and important role for Georgians even in today's modern life. The Holy Mother giving the Georgians a part of the land she had reserved for herself, is for many Georgians not only a legend, but considered as reality. Another example is a superstition actual for most Georgians today: The first person entering a family's home after new year celebration will have decisive influence on whether the upcoming year will bring prosperity for the family.

Georgian folklore in general takes a similar position. These ancient traditions are deeply rooted in


their soul, and even in today's modern society this is an important part of Georgians identity. The folk song and dance tradition is amazing and spectacular, ranging from the soft and intimate to the very masculine and vigorous. They are complex and virtuous in their texture and performance, and are carrying the local specifics of the different Georgian regions. The song and dance tradition is very much alive: You may see singers and dancers performing in any kind of social situations ranging from feasts and restaurants, within the sphere of the family, in meetings, at the concert stage, etc., or even improvising a song among people on the street. Regardless of their performing abilities, Georgians feel that the songs and dances are a part of their heart and soul, generating pride and awareness of their ancient tradition.

Georgia is often referred to as "the country of poetry", and has generated numerous skilled and famous poets throughout history. The rich Georgian language including it's own alphabet and letters is very well suited for poetry and poetic expressions. Georgians have a very close relation to their poets, and especially to the 12th century masterpiece The knight in the tiger's skin by Shota Rustaveli. Even today there are regions in Georgia where there is tradition to communicate and express oneself in lyric terms, and even compete in lyrics by challenging and answering each other through improvisations.

Carpet, enamel and ceramic are among the other artforms which are part of the Georgian ancient folklore tradition.

Georgian folk dance with ensemble. Erisioni. Photo: Badri Vadachkoria © all rights reserved.


Folk ensemble Egari. Photo: Egari © all rights reserved.


Woman in village of Juta, Khevsureti. Photo: Gia Chkhatarashvili © all rights reserved