The Role of beer in rituals

The chief of clan carried out all the rituals connected with beer. Chieftain's position was the most responsible and sacred. He carried out the mission on people's order and in the first place, the chieftain was entrusted with being a mediator between holy cross and people. The chieftain had to be purified before the religious festivals, which in terms of Christianity meant observing the Lent. This is why the chieftain had to stay in the monk's cloister in seclusion, and could consume only little food, appropriate for fasting.

During the festival, the beer was brewed inside the house of worship and then, after it had been blessed, it would be taken out for everybody to drink. If the holy place was well protected against wind and rain where people would feel comfortable, the feast would take place there , if not, then the beer would be taken to the attic of one of the houses, the table would be laid and all the  village folks would gather there by evening. The young boys would bring beer to the holy place. On their return, everybody would greet them and offer the drink, fill the tuns, which later would be taken to the village. The people in the village would be standing to welcome the arrival of the beer, chanting some welcoming words in chorus. The brewers would be seated in front of the fire. Then all kinds of drinking pots would be brought out and everybody would start toasting. The first toast would go to the perished.

The role of beer is clearly seen in the rituals of Tusheti and Pshav – Khevsureti dedicated to the perished during such ceremonies as wakes, last rites, funeral repasts. The most interesting one among them is in Tusheti called Ludi-aludebi. The main idea of this ritual is to express the reverence towards the perished. In such events, they lay the table, bemoan (remembering all the good deeds of the deceased person) and then hold the horse race.
 In the house of the deceased person a big repast was held, the guests arrived, drank beer and when all was over, the hosts would see the guests off until the end of the village. There they once again filled  the beer mugs and toasted to the beer brewers.

The fact that beer has such a wide context, once again proves that it had been the oldest cult drink in the mountains of Georgia, which was closely connected with the earliest form of religious faith – animism.


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