Cultural Travel - Georgia

    close to people - close to tradition


Guests - a gift from God


Hospitality takes a very strong and special position in Georgian tradition and mentality. There is a saying that "a guest is a gift from God". For Georgians however, this is not only a saying, but in fact the way they consider a guest. The family holds a very important position in the Georgian tradition and society, and there is a strong sense of loyalty and responsibility within the family sphere. When a guest enters into this sphere he or she will be subject for the same: The whole family will put all efforts into pleasing the guest, assuring that the guest is comfortable and happy. They will offer the guest the best of what they possibly can provide.

Georgians also have a firm sense of pride for their tradi- tion and identity, combined with a strong wish of showing and sharing this with a guest or anyone from outside. Finally, Georgians are warm and with an open and forth- coming approach to both strangers and people they know, and with a strong desire to help whenever a person needs a hand or is in trouble. Asking  a  Georgian  for  the


direction, the result may very well be that you will be guided all the way to your destination, making sure that you will be OK. This example shows the sincere and friendly nature of Georgians: The helper in this case will probably never see you again, and will only be left with the pleasure of helping a fellow person....

All this adds up to an extraordinary and unlimited hospitality that is amazing and breathtaking for many first time visitors to Georgia. For many Georgians the hospitality is so deeply rooted in their soul and heart that even if they know there will be no funds left for the rest of the month, they will anyway with great pleasure spend every penny they have, entertaining and pleasing their guest. Even in a rapid changing modern Georgian society, we have more than once heard Georgians say: "I know that it is maybe not so smart to spend all my funds on the guest, but I simply will not and can not do it otherwise!"

"Mother of Georgia" with a cup of wine in the one hand and a sword in the other. Guests are welcomed by the cup of wine, while enemies are welcomed by the sword. Photo: Svend Waage © all rights reserved.