Georgians love to have fun. They like to party. They like to sing and dance. They like to make friends. And they like to entertain. These facts combine with the tradition-oriented culture to create an interesting ceremonial dinner with roots that likely extend far back into history, when long-lost friends in the trading business would arrive to tell fabulous stories.
The supra is a frequent occurrence in Georgian homes. It is a highly ritualized event that forms a direct line to Georgia’s past. It may have begun thousands of years ago as age-old friends returned while traversing their trading routes. Days would be spent swapping stories, eating food, and generally enjoying each other’s company before the trader moved on, not to be seen again for several years.
Today the supra will last for an entire evening and well into the early morning. It consists of round upon round of elaborate and long-standardized and improvised toasts, a lot of alcohol, and even more food. As the participants get more and more drunk, the toasts may turn into rowdy songs and dances that promote a man’s character and heritage. The food is made by the women, who stay in the kitchen except when serving or when they are the recipient of one of the many toasts. Like the alcohol, the food keeps coming long into the evening, so that by the time dessert arrives, some guests may be falling asleep at the table.