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Happy New Year, Tbilisi!2009-01-01 12:00
Any Georgian family - no matter how big, small, rich or not very rich it is - will have nadughi, satsivi and kozinaki on the New Year menu. What? Don't you know what they are? Then let's go ahead to pre-festive Georgia where long before the clock strikes midnight the head twirls with a hoppy smell of new wine and scents of spices and fruit.
No revolutions and wars of the recent years have changed cheerful and hospitable hosts. The New Year is the main family feast and it is celebrated as 10, 30 and 100 years ago...
There is no defiant disposal of old furniture as in Italy though by their temperament and artistic spirit Georgians match Italians just perfectly. No, they simply discharge their apartments of accumulated garbage in a business-like manner. Sweeping up rubbish means there will be no room for old quarrels and hard feelings in the New Year, Georgian housewives are convinced. Everything must shine and sparkle - floors, windows, balconies. Let these order and cleanness fill the hearts and minds throughout the coming year.
While women are doing their homes, men have their tasks to perform too. They are responsible for making their homes a place to live in plenty, so to say. Both on the New Year's Eve and for the remaining 365 days. Men go to the market - it's not women's job to carry heavy shopping bags back.
No matter how thick a wallet is and what are the effects of the financial crisis on a family budget for the coming months they buy:
1.A Chicken - exclusively home-grown (a factory hen is no good for satsivi, and it is a must on the Georgian table). 2.A pig (another traditional feature without any "industrial origin"). 3.4, 5, 6, 7. Suluguni cheese, jonjoli (the buds of the homonymous bush made sour together with blades. It is a popular dressing for numerous dishes of the Georgian cuisine). The fruit: tangerines, oranges, persimmon (korolyok), apples, dried figs. Afterwards they are laid on a large tray called tabla and put next to the X-tree. Children tired after a long celebration can enjoy them to their heart's content.
Fruit and sweets are on a chichilaki too - it is a Georgian "Christmas tree". Chichilaki is a small log with long smooth cuts set on its top and hanging down in beautiful rings. And the whole lot of other decorations will last only till the beginning of the feast and after that.... Well, you know what I mean.
Chichilaki is burned down after the celebration chasing away all misfortunes and troubles from the house.