Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Chichilaki - the Georgian Christmas tree

Christos Rozhdayetsya!

While the traditional evergreen Christmas tree (or New Year's tree, as is more commonly practiced in this part of the world) is still popular here, Georgians have their own unique Christmas tree tradition - the chichilaki.  Chichilakis are pruned hazelnut brances that are shaved so that thin pieces of wood hang down in a cascade of spirals that is said to represent the beard of St. Basil the Great:

Because of the link to the saint, chichilakis were banned during the Soviet period.

They are typically decorated with berries, according to my reading, and the ones I have seen range from eight inches high to taller than me:


They are meant to be burned on the day before the Epiphany (because Christmas is 12 days long, people!).  We plan to try to save ours to display it again in the future.  Think packing peanuts will work?

1 comment:

  1. They look like a troop of Cousins Itts. Very lovely idea, but I doubt that I would ever find hazel trees in my part of the world:(


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