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Daily Life

Daily life in Georgia is filled with family, friends, and work. Whether a family lives in the country or in the city, they likely live near other family members who visit frequently. They will spend special events together and celebrate both religious and family events with an abundance of food, laughter, and wine. Because Georgia contains so many different ethnic and religious groups, it is very difficult to say what a typical day is like for any one family.

In the Muslim religion, for example, prayers are said several times a day. The Christians also might pray every day, but they do not have rituals as formal as the Muslims do unless it is Sunday or a Holy Day. Christians still often do not attend church services except for special events such as Easter or a wedding. Food can vary greatly depending on location. The diet of people who live high in the mountains likely consists mostly of potatoes and lamb. In the warmer, subtropical regions, people are more likely to eat fruit and vegetables. In the hotter, dryer parts of the country, grain is easier to grow and bread is a staple of the diet.

Music also is something that everyone enjoys no matter where they live or what their ethnic background is. Many men gather once a week or even more often at a local tavern or at someone’s house to eat, tell stories, laugh, and sing folk songs. Their wives, meanwhile, will be working in the kitchen to prepare food for the groups.

The children go to school from September to June. If they are in grade school, they only go for about five hours a day. In high school they will go for seven hours. Because the country has many schools, even the children who live on farms are probably close enough to walk.

The parents are very concerned about the education their young children are receiving because it is not as good as the one they received under the Soviet system. The books are often very old and parts of the school are closed down since the country became independent because there is no money for repairs. All sports teams have been canceled because there is no money. The teachers are poorly paid and often unenthusiastic about their jobs. As the boys in the family reach 18, they will go into the Georgian army for two years, although about 80 percent find the money to bribe a local official.

If they must go into the army, mother will be concerned that they will be sent to one of the old military bases at which some soldiers have gotten radiation burns from old weapons. Mother also is concerned about the treatment of her son in the army. She has heard that the soldiers do not get paid on time, and even when they do receive their pay, it is not very much. Some soldiers have rioted because their housing conditions are so poor.

The family will find many reasons to celebrate, even if they cannot afford to buy expensive food or to travel to visit relatives. On Easter, they will go to visit the family graves and may even have a day-long picnic at the summer house by the graves. If a male friend comes to visit, they likely will have a supra, a meal that will last for up to five hours where the men make long, elaborate toasts and drink a lot of wine. If there is a wedding in the family, there will be a huge party that could last as long as three days. There will be a lot of drinking and dancing.