The holy lands

People in the mountains celebrated festivities with the harvest yielded in the fields on the holy territory within the house of worship. Part of the harvested crops was used in ritual bread baking and beer brewing. The first spring works in Khevsureti started by plowing cornfield. On a Friday, the chief of the community would stand on the flat deck roof of one of the houses and announce the beginning of plowing. It was an obligatory work for all, and once the people finished plowing the area, then they would start working on their own patches of land.

 It is interesting to note, that as the process of harvest served the divine deeds, it acquired a ritual character. When it was the time to reap the fields, the chief of clan would announce so and appoint the day of reaping. By this time the beer would have been brewed, the parish would get together, select the sacrificial animals and would sacrifice to the deity. The chief would open the beer cask and fill the silver chalices, light the candles nearby the offerings, and chief say prayers. Everybody would toast with beer to the glory of the house of worship. Then the chief would go out into the field with the sickle, cut some barley, and then hand the sickle to the reapers. The latter were offered the drink by people carrying the tuns with beer. Reaping was accompanied with songs. After the process was finished, one of the reapers would start chanting, "God bless the Iakhsar and the Iakhsar bless your people" (Iakhsar is one of the pagan deities of the people of Tusheti, Khevsureti, Pshavi) and the people around would start echoing and this meant that the reaping was over.

The crop harvested in the holy field was considered sacred. If the house of worship had its own barn, the harvest would be stored there. If not, then it would be taken to the cleanest attic of one of the houses, which was strictly guarded. It was such a sacred product that its theft, appropriation or wasting in any way was strictly precluded. The most of the wheat crop was used in beer brewery, which was the main ritual drink and no blessings and toasting would be possible without this drink at the feasts.


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