Days Off in Georgia
Civil and religious holidays are especially important for the country and are regulated by law as days off. On these days, government institutions and most of the private sector do no work, including banks. On the other hand, restaurants, café-bars, night clubs, and tourist agencies have quite a heavy load of work and there are usually large crowds in the stores and markets.
There are 15 days off in total in Georgia. Of those, 13 are specified by law. They are as follows:
- 1st and 2nd January – New Year’s Holiday;
- 7th of January – Christmas;
- 19th of January – Epiphany;
- 3rd of March – Mother’s Day;
- 8th of March – International Women’s Day;
- 9th of April – Day of the Restoration of the Independence of the Georgian Government, National Unity, Civil Agreement, and Remembrance of Martyrs for the Homeland;
- 9th of May – Day of Victory over Fascism;
- 12th of May – Day of the Allotment of Georgia to the Holy Virgin Mary;
- 26th of May – The Georgian National Holiday of Independence Day, which is celebrated with a military parade;
- 28th of August – Saint Mary’s Day;
- 14th of October – Mtskhetoba;
- 23rd of November – Saint George’s Day.
The Easter holiday is also recognized as days off, but is moveable, starting with Good Friday and ending on Monday, the Day of Remembrance for the Dead.
In addition to these, there are religious holidays which are not recognized as days off, but are still celebrated.
For Orthodox Christians the holidays are as follows:
- 6th of March – Forgiveness Sunday;
- 7th of April – Annunciation;
- Palm Sunday – This is the Sunday before Easter;
Lomisoba – This is the Wednesday after Pentecost. Like Pentecost, it is a moveable feast and is counted from Easter. Lomisoba is celebrated with special traditions and customs in the mountains;
19th of August – Transfiguration, when Georgians lay the table with all sorts of fruits, light candles, and remember the dead;
17th of December – Barbaroba, which is also called Bedoba, when lobiani is baked and the mekvle - a special guest who brings good luck to the family, is expected.
Nowruz Bayram is celebrated by Georgia’s Muslims on the 21st of March;
The Jewish festival of Hanukkah is celebrated from the 18th to 26th December;
Georgian Catholics celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December.
Of all of Georgia’s holidays, the ones for specific cities or villages are unique. One holiday in Tbilisoba, which is held every year on the last weekend in October, has traditional music, dance concerts, and cultural events held outside in a historical district of the city. Products from every region of Georgia are brought to the markets and set up in various districts of the city.
Kutaisoba, also called Gviriloba, is celebrated on the 2nd of May and has a unique history. In the 1920s, high school girls from Kutaisi picked daisies from all around and sold them for money to help people with tuberculosis on the 2nd of May. Since then, Gviriloba has been celebrated in Kutaisi every year with cultural events, where you can see high school girls decked out in their school uniforms strolling through the streets of the cities with daisies to give away.
On the 7th of November, Erekleoba is celebrated in Telavi, in autumn Batumoba is celebrated in Adjara, and so on. The villages of Georgia have their own festivals as well, which feature joyful competitions and celebrations.