Alilo is an ancient Georgian tradition dedicated to the Christmas holidays and originates from the 5th-6th centuries. On Christmas Day (January 7), people would go out to share the common joy and congratulate each other on the Nativity of the Savior.

Christmas Carol “Alilo”

The ancient Christmas carol "Alilo" is an integral part of this tradition.

The carol varies in different parts of Georgia and is distinguished by its angularity and variety. Its content is full of wishes for health, prosperity, and happiness.

"Alilo" was routinely performed by several people at the same time, to congratulate the host through song. In return, the host gave the singers a gift. This tradition has survived to this day in different parts of Georgia.

The word "Alilo" originates from "Alleluia" which means the glory of God. Indeed, sharing the joy caused by the birth of Christ has been celebrated with this song-hymn since time immemorial.

 Gifts for the Poor

Along with sharing joy, the main essence of the tradition entails collecting food and distributing it to those in need. In exchange for spiritual joy, people gave away material goods. Among the foods gifted to people in need, were eggs symbolizing the beginning of new life.

The tradition is very old and connected to the fact that when the twelve apostles preached, they were given various offerings, which they then gave away to the poor. 

Festive Table 

The traditional Christmas table dedicated to this day was and is also special. On this day in Guria, the host would definitely bake a Christmas pie, while the Megrelians would meet to eat Ghomi and satsivi on Christmas Day, the Meskhetians would prepare a walnut Gozinaki, in the east it would be sweet Kada, and in Pshavi-Khevsureti they would make khinkali. Meanwhile, the Svans would gorge on Kubdari, the Imeretians on khachapuri, and the Adjarans on Achma. 

Along with these dishes, pork would be essential, and all tables were and are decorated with traditional Georgian snacks of churchkhela, dried fruit, and pumpkin. 

Modern Alilo

The 70-year hiatus of Alilo in Georgia, caused by Soviet rule, was over together with the regime. Today, the holiday Alilo is celebrated every year. Children join the Alilo procession with special joy, while large numbers of people present gifts to the participants in the festive procession, which are distributed to the elderly and children's shelters at the end of the day.

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