Georgia celebrates Saint Barbara’s Day

Georgia celebrates Saint Barbara’s Day on December 17., 17 Dec 2014 - 13:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

Orthodox Georgians are today celebrating Saint Barbara’s Day – the great Martyr who was tortured by her own father after she converted to Christianity.

A Divine Liturgy began at every Georgian Orthodox Church at midnight last night and continued into the morning. The special church service is continuing to be celebrated in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, which is the third-tallest Eastern Orthodox Cathedral in the world.

Icon of Saint Barbara.

Many Georgian orthodox believers celebrate the day but traditions are varied and comprise of superstitious and pagan rituals, despite Georgia being one of the oldest Christian counties in the world. The day is commonly known as Barbaroba.

Read article "The Feast of Saint Barbara with Pagan Traditions" to get more about this celebration. 

Saint Barbara’s Day, celebrating the Great Martyr, has been celebrated in Georgia since the 9th Century. The Feast of Saint Barbara is connected with an old Georgian folk tradition to bake lobiani (bean bread). Each year on December 17, Georgians cooking bean pies to show respect for Saint Barbara.

Georgian bean bread, Lobiani.

Saint Barbara is a well-loved saint in Georgia and many churches are named after her; there are four in Tbilisi alone.

December 17 is also considered as the Day of Destiny in Georgia. According to this superstition, how this day passes for a person will reflect on what the next year will bring for that person. For example if today is positive, next year will also be positive.

Similarly, Georgians also believe that the first person to visit their house as a guest will influence how much luck the family will have the following year. In Georgia, the first person to come to a family home after midnight and congratulate them on the holy day is called ‘Mekvle’.

Saint Barbara was born in the 3rd Century in the Greek city of Heliopolis in Syria, now modern-day Baalbek in Lebanon. She was the daughter of a rich pagan named Dioscorus. After she converted to Christianity she was tortured and beheaded. Saint Barbara is considered as the Patron Saint of Children and Fertility.