The Role of beer in the life of mountain people

All important festivities or cult rituals were connected with beer in Georgia. It played an important role under many different circumstances: it was drunk to toast to a new arrival in a family or even to hostile families when being reconciled. It was thought that by drinking beer they would get rid of any impurities. It is interesting, that when it was impossible to reconcile the enemies by help of mediators, the enemies would be brought to the holy place. The offender would be offered a mug of beer that would mean that the culprit had to make the first step towards the reconciliation and utter the following words: "Here is to your respect" and that would mean that the person admitted his guilt. Therefore, beer played a major role in this process, which obviously proves its significance.

One more tradition was spread in Khevsureti: in village Akhieli, they put up a show depicting "kidnapping". They formed two groups, one of them would kidnap a woman, and the other would be "fighting" them.  In this theatrical show, one man had to be "wounded" and as a treatment, he had to take beer. As for the "kidnapped woman", she would also be offered some beer to drink. Even women who were mourning were involved in this cheerful game and the beer they drank would symbolize respect towards them and the relief of their grief.

One oldest tradition was initiation, i.e. declaration of maturity of an adolescent. In Khevsureti the youngster at the age of fourteen was allowed to drink beer. It meant that this person would belong to the list of beer drinkers so that during the brewing process he would be taken into account. Small children were also given a little mug of beer during festivities and they would be marked with coal on the forehead, so that they did not drink a second mug. 

 

 
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