Georgiais a small country in Europe that holds on to its history and culture. Although it’s not too far from center of Europe, this country is considered as exotic. As a result, series of festivals happen in Georgia throughout the whole year. Most of these festivals are in celebration of history and or basically to display its love for art and culture. Georgia’s love for wine assures you of a chance to taste freshly produced wine during every festival. Unlike a couple of other countries, most festivals in Georgia are specific to certain states or cities for a number of reasons. Amongst other festivals, these three festivals listed below are the most popular. Tourists travelto Georgia from far and wide just to attend these festivals. The three most popular festivals in Georgia are:
Tbilisoba (October 28)
This festival is the most popular festival in Georgia.It is a one-day event done in celebration of the birthday orthe founding day of the country’s capital, Tbilisi. Dueto the season around this celebration, the end of autumn harvest is also celebrated during this festival. Itwas created under the initiative of Eduard Shevardnadze. Tbilisobawas first celebrated on the 28th of October, 1979. Although the exact date Tbilisi was founded is not known, this festival usedto be celebrated in the first weekend of October. Of recent, the governmentof Georgia moved the festival to September with no particular date.
Fanfare and open air concerts are major components of this festival. The culture of the people is displayed through traditional dance, folk music, theatre and music shows, fruit and cheese displays, and fireworks. During the period of this festival, there are several arts and crafts stalls around available for the purchase of arts and crafts. Accessories are also available for sale in different stalls. The country’s love for wine is almost equivalent to its love for good food. Therefore, good food is available for sale at different stands. Cheese, honey, dried fruits,churchkhelaand wine are available for purchase at different stalls. An interesting feature of this festival is the grape crushing event. Thisgrape crushing event is done in celebration of Rtveli, s festival held in celebration of the autumn harvest. People, visitors and locals alike, are given opportunity to crush grapes which will eventually be used in production of wine. Every region of Georgia is represented by her people at theTbilisobafestival. Honorary citizenship of Tbilisi is awarded to people by the government during the course of the festival. Thefestival ends with a gala concert and fireworks.
This festival holds in several city parks in Tbilisi. One of the parks to visit during this period of Tbilisoba is the Rike park. It is located along the left bank of Mtkvari river. Rich wines are sampled and tasted in this park. The grape crushing event often takes place at the Gorgasali square. If you are a lover of historical celebrations, this is a festival you do not want to miss.
New Wine Festival (May 11)
Being the latest addition to the list of festivals that happen in Georgia, it is becoming one of the most popular festivals.Since its inception in 2008, it is known to attract bloggers, pressmen and definitely, wine lovers from far and wide. In 2016, it recorded the attendance of about 40,000 visitors. It is organized by the Georgian wine club. Thenew wine festival is celebrated at the end of the spring season, usually at the end of May.
Georgia, being the oldest wine producing country in Europe, has an amazing selection of five star wines produced locally. The NewWine festival celebrates the history and richness of Georgian wine. Thefestival starts with the opening of the big wine jar. Clay vessels called qvevri containing new wine made from the latest harvest are opened and thewineis given to everyone to taste. More than 60 varieties of Georgian wine are available for tasting during this festival. Some of these varieties are eitherexpensive or not sold in the market. Atthe new winefestival, you have the opportunity to taste these varieties for free. All you have to do is stand in front of a table set up by a particular wine maker and you will be served. The country’s affection for wine is displayed to the fullest during this festival. This tasting of new wine is done in celebration of good life. Justin case you are scared of getting drunk, fear not. Meals like Mtsvadi (Georgian shashlik), fresh bread and othersare available at the venueof the festival to keep you sober. You can also try the barbecue made at the venue of the festival. Shouts of Guamarjos (cheers in Georgian) fill the airthrough out the period of the New Wine Festival. Entertainment in form of dance and folk music makes the framework of this festival. You can take a motion picture at Giffer to keep memories of the festival. The new wine festival offers an opportunity to converse with different wine makers and wine producing families. You can also meet other wine lovers during the course of the festival. At the end of this festival, a list of ten wines everyone should taste before death is compiled by the wine tasters.
The companies who bring out their products for tasting vary every year. Also, the venue of this festival is not fixed. It is changeable by the government. This helps tourists experience different parts of the country. You can visit different parts of the country by attending the new wine festival every year. If you are a wine lover and also interested in Georgian culture, this is the festival for you.
Art Gene Festival (July 7-14)
The Art Gene Festival holds every year since its commencement in 2003. It showcases the musical traditions and heritage of the country. It is a one-week festival which holds in the month of July every year. Itwas created by Rocker Zaza Korinteli and his friends who make up the Georgian NGO “Union of Art Gene”. In 2019, the art gene festival will hold from the 7th of July to the 14th of July.
For one week, the artistic abilities of Georgians are put on display. Activities, ranging from folk music to dance performances to contemporary music shows, areenjoyed through out the festival. Oneof the most notable part of the Art Gene festival is the polyphonic singing which was developed by Georgians. Music is performed by several artistes around Georgia. This gives your ear the pleasure of enjoying the sounds produced by different parts of the country. Works of craft likeknitting, wood carving, sewing, pottery, and jewelry are also displayedby craftsmenthroughut the festival. These craftworks are available for sale at handicraft stalls. You can also watch the making of these crafts at the various workshops set up at the venue of the festival. Artistsand craftsmen give masterclasses tovisitors on the production of their products.Artistsand craftsmen from other countries like Japan, China, Ukraine and Turkey are also allowed to display their products. There are food counter and stalls at the venue of the festival giving you access to delicious Georgian food. You can also have picnics at any of the numerous parks in Tbilisi while enjoying the beautiful weather.
This festival holds every year underthe blue sky at the Museum of Ethnography in Tbilisi. Some nearby towns likeAdjara and Guriaalso celebrate this festival. Althoughnot as big as in Tbilisi, themusical performances and exhibitionsare worth checking out. Everyyear, different themes are picked for the festival. This theme gives you an idea of what to expect from the festival. In 2004, the theme was Family Folklore and Polyphonic Songs. In 2005, the Art Gene Festival had the theme Traditional Crafts and FamilyFolklore. If you are a lover of art, music and good food and you need a one-week vacation in the month of July, the Art Gene Festival should be at the top of your list. Book a ticket to Georgia now, and you will be glad you did.
If you now have found interest in not only visiting the great festivals of Georgia but also traveling through that beautiful country, visit the German website Backpackertrail to get further information on travel routes and local festivals.
List of major other festivals
January: New Year.
February: No notable festival.
March: Mother’s Day (March 3), International Women’s Day (March 8), Victory Day (March 9).
April: Love Day (April 15).
May: New wine festival, Traditional Tushetian cheese festival, Tamaroba(May 14), Independence Day (May 26).
June: Ninooba(1st of June).
July: Art Gene Festival, Shatiloba, Cheese festival in Tbilisi, Blacksea jazz festival.
September:Tbilisoba, Rtveli, Batumoba(September 3rd – 4th), Alaverdoba(September 28), Tbilisi International festival of theatre.
October: Tbilisoba, Rtveli, Mtskhetoba-Svetitskhovloba(October 14), Tbilisi jazz festival, Tbilisi International festival of theatre.
November: Tbilisi jazz festival, Tbilisi International Film Festival.
December: Tbilisi International Film Festival, Christmas.