Tbilisi's New Year Tree to be lit up on Thursday for start of festive season

Lit up in downtown Tbilisi, the tree signifies the start of combined celebrations of New Year's Eve and Christmas in the country. Photo: Nino Alavidze/agenda.ge.

Agenda.ge, 16 Dec 2020 - 12:23, Tbilisi,Georgia

The New Year Tree celebrating the onset of the end-of-year festive season in capital Tbilisi will be lit up on Thursday, mayor Kakha Kaladze said while unveiling the shortened programme for celebrations on Wendesday.

The lighting up of the tree, which customarily signals the official start of weeks of combined New Year's Eve and Christmas celebrations in Georgia, will be broadcast live on television, Kaladze said in his comments about Tbilisi City Hall's plans for the festivities.

With the pandemic situation curtailing plans for the usual scale of celebrations in Tbilisi, the city will host a number of live music shows - also set for live broadcast - without the customary Christmas village, which is usually set up on First Republic Square to host events and socialising opportunities for citizens.

No Christmas village will be set up in the downtown this year, to ensure pandemic safety and redirect funds for relief for socially underprivileged families. Photo: Nino Alavidze/agenda.ge.

Kaladze said his city office had decided to abandon plans for setting up the village, as the compact arrangement of its stalls and other structures would heighten risks of virus transmission on the square.

Instead, the City Hall will use expenses set aside for the village to provide relief to socially underprivileged families amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The mayor said the move would help the people "in most need" following the nearly year-long struggle with the virus.

Festive season concerts are set to run in Tbilisi on December 31, January 6 and January 14.