Thursday, February 2, 2012

Take a number

Making our way to the famous Georgian National Cathedral, the road twists and turns upwards to first reach the President's house. The road is lined with security guards every ten feet, monitoring our movements, yet smiling back at my attempts to pronounce hello in Georgian accurately. Which, by the way is, gmarjoba. (See below for Georgian script)

The President's house in an oddly shaped complex- with squares on top of square-shaped buildings which rested behind a glass dome that can be viewed miles away. We snuck in some pictures, though a few of the guards made the girls delete the photos. After our thirty minute walk from the Soviet Market to the National Cathedral , the newly built church came into view and can only be described in one word; grandiose. Walking into the church you must first pass through the entrance gates- similar to those of a castle, large, stone, looming, complete with watch and bell towers. They make you feel miniscule compared to your environment. Completely built in a gold colored marble, when I entered the courtyard, a sigh escaped my lips. After taking dozens of photos, we skipped our way up the seemingly endless steps leading to the new marble church. On our way up, we saw tons of brides and grooms walking out of the church, giving kids money, a tradition (also present in Turkey) which happens after wedding ceremonies. We finally entered the church and had to cover our hair with scarves. Astounded by the amount of light inside, the church was very crowded. It was a Saturday around four in the afternoon, the sun's light slowly giving way to the misty chill of sunset. Dozens of brides and grooms were lined up waiting for their turn in the wedding ceremony. The Georgian church is nothing if not efficient. The priest lined up three couples at a time in a row, blessing them as he moved down the line. The women then lined up to enter the back, covered, part of the church, but not before each bride paused and prayed before the Virgin Mary and kissed the portrait. The priest blessed them and then moved along to the next couple. Lines of couples waited silently in the shadows, and moved into their place, ready to tie the knot. Long story short, in the Georgian church, marriages are plentiful and the church is efficient. The result? Multiple weddings. At the back of the church is a number machine, like the kind you get at a deli, which determines the number of your marriage that day. Group number five waits in the background, the maids of honor in tiny dresses and five inch stilettos which made the girls admire her fortitude. The shoes weren't made for walking.

By the way, just kidding about the number thing. If anyone knows how that number is determined, or the culture reasons behind them, I'd be delighted to find out! Any Georgian readers out there?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah! Just found your blog and it looks fascinating! Can't wait to read it. Thanks for coming by my own blog too! Claudia


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