Everything is back to normal now and this year Christmas markets are set up everywhere in Europe. That’s why I get a lot of questions about the Christmas Markets in Tbilisi. Christmas markets in Tbilisi are set up later than other Europe countries and stay open untill some time after the new year. This is because Georgia has different traditions. In this article, I will explain both the Georgian Christmas traditions and the dates and locations of the Christmas markets in Tbilisi. So my guide to Tbilisi Christmas Markets is ready, have a good read.
Christmas Traditions in Georgia
Georgia is an Orthodox Christian community, so they use the old Julian calendar for religious days. In other words, Christmas is not celebrated on December 25 in Georgia and the christmas markets are not set up early. Now, let me explain you the Georgian traditions on some dates for Christmas and new year.
1 January is Mekvleoba day for Georgians. Mekvleoba is a Georgian tradition about the importance of the first person to enter the house on New Year. Mekvle means first guest of the day in Georgian. It is believed that Mekvle will reflect the joy and luck found in him in the house he enters for the next year.
January 2 is Bedoba day for Georgians. They believe that today is the day of luck and destiny that will affect the whole year. They think that the whole year will be like this day, and they try to spend the whole day nice.
January 7: Orthodox Christmas, they celebrate the birth of Jesus according to the Julian calendar. People go to churches and the Alilo march takes place in the city. Alilo is one of the Georgian traditions, singing christmas carols and walking from First Republic Square to Sameba Cathedral. Alilo participants symbolize the angels and Zoroastrians who first learned of the birth of Jesus.
January 14: Orthodox New Year’s Day, celebrated according to the Julian calendar.
January 19: Epiphany day for Georgians. They commemorate the day Jesus was baptized according to the Julian calendar. They symbolically burn the trees they call chichilaki in order to bid farewell to the troubles and sorrows of the previous year.
Tovlis Baboa is the Georgian Santa Claus. He is a mythical figure in Slavic mythology.
Chichilaki: Traditional Georgian Christmas tree made by shaving dried hazelnuts or walnut branches.
Does Georgia have Christmas markets?
Yes and now I’ll share the locations, dates and time of Georgian Christmas Markets.
Tbilisi Christmas Markets Dates and Locations
I have to say that Tbilisi Christmas Markets are not as splendid as the ones in Europe, so don’t expect too much. Don’t think about coming here just for the Christmas Market, you’d be disappointed.
Christmas decorations are already set up all over the city, but the lights are not yet on. As of December 15, the lights will be activated. The lighting ceremony for the main New Year Tree, will also take place on December 15.
This year, a large Christmas Village will be established in Orbeliani Square and will spread towards 9 April Park and Atoneli Street. It will open at 8 pm on December 22 and will be open until January 14. You can visit the Christmas markets everyday from 10 in the morning until late in the evening. 😉
An Agrarian Christmas market will be held at Dedaena Park for the weekend of 16-17 December. The stalls will be open between 13:00 in the afternoon and 19:00 in the evening.
A Christmas market will be held on the weekend of 23-24 December in the courtyard of Fabrika Hostel. The stalls will be open between 13:00 in the afternoon and 19:00 in the evening.
Batumi Christmas Market will be held in Europe Square from 23 December to 7 January.
Where to celebrate New Year in Tbilisi?
First Republic Square in Tbilisi would host a gala concert on December 31. And there will be firework shows of course. One of the best activities to join in Tbilisi on New Year’s is watching the fireworks show.
If there is anything additional you’d like to ask, you can write down in the comments. Do not forget to follow me for photos and videos with plenty of information about Georgia and Tbilisi.