Gilotsav Ninobas! Yesterday (Friday, January 27) was the feast of St. Nino, and since my host mother is from the village of Ninotsminda (St. Nino) it was a major celebration in the family. In case you don’t know, St. Nino is one of the most important (if not THE most important) saint in Georgia because she converted the Georgians to Christianity.
My host mother spent most of the day Thursday with her family preparing for Friday’s feast, and the rest of my family joined in the evening for a visit and pre-supra supra. My host siblings and some cousins (I think…relatives of some sort about our age, at least, who were all very nice and fun) took me to the Ninotsminda Church that evening so I could see it and they could pay their respects. The building is beautiful, as you can see from the photo, and many people were there to pay their respects. Though the church is certainly revered, the atmosphere was anything but somber. My host brother kept ambushing our group with snowballs, and we were laughing and giggling most of the visit.
Friday we returned to Ninotsminda in the early afternoon, and went to the church again. There were even more people and the atmosphere was even more festive–it seemed as if all of Kakheti was there, and my host siblings kept running into friends. There were vendors there selling cotton candy, lollipops (shaped like guns…?), and trinkets, and people were lighting candles to St. Nino. Again, there were lots of snowballs and giggling in our group.
We returned to my host mother’s family home and had a big supra with the extended family and friends. The food was fantastic, but I do not have the stamina for a seemingly endless feast. Fortunately neither did my host siblings, so we hung out in the other room part of the time, playing games, practicing English, chatting with their great aunt, listening to music on the computer and my host brother’s guitar. Due to a minor language-barrier related mistranslation, I wound up being a bit of a stick in the mud and going home after only 7 hours of feasting. Ultimately I had a very fun Ninoba, and even managed to catch up on some sleep.