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Did Grinch Steal Georgia’s Holiday Spirit?

Published: December 31, 2012 | 9:41 am
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New hopes! New resolutions! New Year does not care for present political, economic or social situation in Georgia, it comes all the way with new expectations.

On December 25 President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili together with children lighted Tbilisi’s main New Year tree. Till January 14 the tandem of Santa Claus and Snow Grandpa (Tovlis Babua in Georgian) will welcome kids at Mtatsminda Park. New Year tree festival and different other holiday events will take place in the capital during the winter holidays. However, it’s evident that this year’s celebration mood is modest. Same old New Year Trees, same old city lights and no celebrity singers visiting Georgia for New Year’s Eve.

Still, Santas have job to do. A week before New Year’s eve old men with long white beards have already a full list of orders to deliver as calls start a month before. According to one of the companies engaged in Santa business, the service costs GEL 50 during till 6 pm, from 6pm to 9pm- GEL 70 and after 9 pm- GEL 90. The cost does not include gifts.

Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas and simply “Santa”, is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins who, in many western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve, December 24.

According to a tradition which can be traced to the 1820s, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, with a large number of magical elves, and nine (originally eight) flying reindeer.

The most common internationally known name of the kids’ favorite old man is Santa Claus. However, in different countries differ rent names are given to the old guy: Brazil – Papai Noel; Chile – Viejo Pascuero (Old Man Christmas); China – Dun Che Lao Ren (Christmas Old Man); Denmark – Julemanden; Finland – Joulupukki; Germany – Weihnachtsmann (Christmas Man); Hungary – Mikulas (St. Nicholas); Italy – Babbo Natale; Japan – Hoteiosho (A god or priest bearing gifts); Norway – Julenissen (Christmas gnome); Portugal – Pai Natal; Spain – Papa Noel; Romania – Mos Craciun; Russia – Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), Turkey – Noel Baba and in Georgia- Tovlis Babua. Globalization made it clear that Santa Claus is the international name understood by all the nations.

Accordingly, the tradition of gifts delivery differs worldwide. In Russia and Georgia holiday presents are placed around a New Year tree, in Britain and Ireland- in special stocking, in Mexico- in shoes, in France- through chimney, in Spain- on balconies.

As for New Year tree, which is the main winter holiday attribute, people choose from natural and artificial ones.  Not everyone can afford Japanese designer Ginza Tanaka’s latest $4.2m Disney Gold Christmas Tree, but for instance, at Goodwill you can find New Year trees of all sizes for suitable price, which may cost you from GEL 7.95 to GEL 3 000.

New Year never passes without old classic holiday movies. Unforgettable scenes from all time Georgian favorite film Kuchkhi Bedineri, traditional Soviet holiday comedy Ironiya Sudby, merry adventures of Hollywood’s Home Alone- bring the best winter holiday atmosphere from blue screens.

In addition to New Year movies, we see special holiday commercial aired on TV during the entire December. Among them is one of the most entertaining Bank of Georgia’s orange Santa dancing with Skyblue Snegurichka, Bank Republic has launched a Flexible Mortgage campaign offering its consumers to spend New Year in a renovated home atmosphere, local perfume retailer Ici Paris promotes its annual lottery, McDonald’s thanks its customers for being faithful through the years. Companies wish happy New Year to their employees and partners by giving them corporate presents. Coca Cola caravan drives all the way along the city streets bringing merry mood to the citizens.

Did Grinch steal Georgia’s holiday spirit? Apparently, NO. Yes, he did have an attempt though. 2013 is the year of a Snake. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve. Let’s hope that next year will be the year for Georgia’s economic prosperity. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



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