Orthodox Good Friday in Georgia
Orthodox Good Friday, known as "სამწუხარო პარასკევი" (Samtskhevaro Paraskevi) in Georgian, is a significant religious observance in Georgia. It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary, an event that holds great importance in the Christian faith. The date of Orthodox Good Friday varies each year, as it is determined by the Julian calendar and falls on the Friday before Orthodox Easter Sunday.
Orthodox Christianity has a deep-rooted history in Georgia, dating back to the 4th century when Christianity was declared the official religion of the country. Saint Nino, a female evangelist, played a crucial role in spreading Christianity throughout Georgia. She is credited with converting the Georgian King Mirian III and Queen Nana to Christianity. Since then, the celebration of Orthodox Good Friday has been a significant religious observance in the country.
National customs for Orthodox Good Friday in Georgia
On Orthodox Good Friday, Georgian Orthodox Christians observe several customs to honor the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. One of the main traditions is attending church services, which are held throughout the day. These services often include the reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels, recounting the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion, and the veneration of the cross.
Another widespread custom is fasting. Many Georgian Orthodox Christians observe a strict fast during Holy Week, which becomes even more rigorous on Good Friday. Some adherents abstain from all food and drink, while others may consume only bread and water.
Local customs for Orthodox Good Friday in Georgia
In addition to national customs, Orthodox Good Friday celebrations in Georgia also involve various local and regional traditions. In some parts of the country, families come together to prepare special dishes for the Easter feast. This may include baking traditional Easter bread called "ფასული" (Paskha), which is often decorated with religious symbols.
Another local custom involves the preparation of a unique red-colored dish called "ღვინის ხანჯალი" (Ghvinis Khandzali), which is made from a mixture of wine, walnuts, and spices. This dish symbolizes the blood of Christ and is typically shared among family and friends.
In some regions, people also participate in the tradition of "ლაშქარა" (Lashkara), a procession through the streets carrying a large wooden cross. This procession symbolizes Jesus carrying his cross to Calvary, and participants often sing hymns and recite prayers as they walk.
Orthodox Good Friday is a deeply significant religious observance in Georgia, with a rich history and diverse customs that showcase the country's strong Christian heritage. From attending solemn church services to participating in local processions and preparing traditional dishes, Georgian Orthodox Christians honor the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ in various meaningful ways. This day serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by Jesus and the importance of faith and devotion in the lives of believers.