Here in America and in most of Canada, we have funeral traditions that have stood the test of time for decades, even centuries.
But our traditions are vastly different from those in other countries and cultures.
This article looks at Georgian funeral traditions and is part of a series that highlights how different cultures care for their dead. Other parts of the series are about Syrian funeral traditions and ancient Iranian funeral traditions, among others.
Note, these traditions may vary depending on the individual and their own beliefs.
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Religious and Death Beliefs
More than 80% of the country Georgia’s population identifies with Eastern Orthodoxy. The next most common is Islam at a little more than 10%. Georgians’ afterlife beliefs are a mixture of Christian and pagan beliefs. Most people believe in the afterlife, but have varying beliefs about how it works.
They also have several superstitions surrounding death. For example, one belief is that when someone dies, the soul leaves the deceased’s mouth in the image of a dove. They also perceive death as a scary and boney old woman.
Georgian Funeral Customs
Attending a Georgian funeral service and wake shows that you respect the deceased. Everyone also wears mourning clothing to show their respect and grief. The deceased’s loved ones also should take care of their loved one’s gravesite long after the funeral.
Traditional Funeral Feast
In the past, after a Georgian funeral service, there was a large and extravagant funeral feast to honor the deceased. However, due to cost and other factors, the funeral feast isn’t as elaborate today. Everyone toasts to the deceased with wine and shares stories about them. They also have large feasts at other significant life events, such as weddings and birthdays.