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Christmas Celebration in Georgia
Tbilisi
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
07 Jan 2019

On January 7 Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas. Today the theatrical walking called “Alilo” is organized all over the country. “Alilo” is led by the Orthodox priests. During this procession, participants in colorful clothes are singing church songs and collecting sweets and fruits for poor people. Collected sweets and gifts are put on special carts. The procession is moving to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the participants of the event will be met by the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.

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Georgia celebrates Christmas
Tbilisi
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
06 Jan 2019

Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas. Today the theatrical walking called “Alilo” is organized all over the country. “Alilo” is led by the Orthodox priests. During this procession, participants in colorful clothes are singing church songs and collecting sweets and fruits for poor people. Collected sweets and gifts are put on special carts. The procession is moving to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the participants of the event will be met by the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.

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Georgia celebrates Christmas
Tbilisi
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
06 Jan 2019

On January 7th Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas. Today the theatrical walking called “Alilo” is organized all over the country. “Alilo” is led by the Orthodox priests. During this procession, participants in colorful clothes are singing church songs and collecting sweets and fruits for poor people. Collected sweets and gifts are put on special carts. The procession is moving to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the participants of the event will be met by the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.

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Georgia celebrates Christmas
Tbilisi
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
06 Jan 2019

Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas. Today the theatrical walking called “Alilo” is organized all over the country. “Alilo” is led by the Orthodox priests. During this procession, participants in colorful clothes are singing church songs and collecting sweets and fruits for poor people. Collected sweets and gifts are put on special carts. The procession is moving to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the participants of the event will be met by the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.

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Georgia celebrates Christmas
Tbilisi
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
06 Jan 2019

Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas. Today the theatrical walking called “Alilo” is organized all over the country. “Alilo” is led by the Orthodox priests. During this procession, participants in colorful clothes are singing church songs and collecting sweets and fruits for poor people. Collected sweets and gifts are put on special carts. The procession is moving to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the participants of the event will be met by the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.

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Georgia celebrates Christmas
Tbilisi
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
06 Jan 2019

Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas. Today the theatrical walking called “Alilo” is organized all over the country. “Alilo” is led by the Orthodox priests. During this procession, participants in colorful clothes are singing church songs and collecting sweets and fruits for poor people. Collected sweets and gifts are put on special carts. The procession is moving to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the participants of the event will be met by the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.

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Georgia celebrates Christmas
Tbilisi
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
06 Jan 2019

Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas. Today the theatrical walking called “Alilo” is organized all over the country. “Alilo” is led by the Orthodox priests. During this procession, participants in colorful clothes are singing church songs and collecting sweets and fruits for poor people. Collected sweets and gifts are put on special carts. The procession is moving to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the participants of the event will be met by the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.

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Christmas celebration in Georgia
Tbilisi
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
06 Jan 2019

On January 7th Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas. Today the theatrical walking called “Alilo” is organized all over the country. “Alilo” is led by the Orthodox priests. During this procession, participants in colorful clothes are singing church songs and collecting sweets and fruits for poor people. Collected sweets and gifts are put on special carts. The procession is moving to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the participants of the event will be met by the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
21 Apr 2014

While the rest of Georgia celebrates Easter at home around a dinner table, the small village of Shukhuti in the western region of Guria fights in an ancient game called Lelo. Men from upper and lower parts of the village participate in several hour battle for 16 kg Lelo Burti ball. Whatever part of the village brings the ball to its side wins the game. The goal lines are marked by two streams.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
21 Apr 2014

Local orthodox pope Saba carries the Lelo ball to the church for blessing before the game starts. The pope is a former Greco-Roman wrestler who has played Lelo for three decades. He has been endowed with the upstanding privilege to bless the ball and throw it to the players for 13 years.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
21 Apr 2014

Easter celebration's dinner table. Before the game starts, villagers stuff the ball with earth, sand and wine during a ceremony. The "ball-stuffing morning" is punctuated with toasts, jokes and various discussions about the game and its strategies.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Men are only rivals during the game. There is one rigorous rule of honor during a Lelo game : no hitting. If some players get too excited and violent, they are promptly separated and placated.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

The 16 kgs ball is carried to the church by Pope Saba to be blessed before the game starts. The pope is willing to give everyone a feel of what it’s like to carry such a ball. The ones who do catch it are hailed with applause, while the ones who trip or drop the ball are showered with laughter.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

An injured player is being brought to a safe place. The game has no rules, no time-outs, and no limit to the number of men who can play. Only men are playing but women also take part to the festivities : they try to help their own teams by pinching and distracting men from the opposing part.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Players stuff the ball with earth, sand and wine. The leather ball must weight 16kg. The "ball-stuffing morning" is punctuated with toasts, jokes and various discussions about the game and its strategies.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Each year, the match begins exactly at 5 pm. There are no limits to the length of the match – it can range from two to eight hours. A villager with a riffle shot in the air to mark the start of the Lelo game.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

An old Lelo ball is seen at one of the cemetery.
The team who wins dedicates the leather ball to the last deceased player and places it on his grave- a reflection of Georgian Orthodox Church tradition of visiting cemeteries on Easter to commemorate loved ones. Lelo balls in various stages of decomposition can be seen on graves in Shukhuti's cemeteries.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Noboody knows the exact time when people began playing Lelo. There are many versions based on different sources, but a number of pagan rituals involved in the game suggest it was played in Georgia long before the coming of Christianity. Lelo is believed to be the predecessor of rugby.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Players rest during the game.
Clothes of men turn to rags and shoes fly over the crowd. The cloud of dust keeps moving back and forth between the two streams for a couple of hours. If anyone falls on the ground, the nearby players put their hands in the air, a signal for the game to slow down. The injured players are carried to safe places.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

The empty ball is stuff with earth, sand and wine. The stuffing ceremony will continue during the afternoon. The crowd toasts to wish luck and good health to the players : they drink wine from the ball itself, using it as a vessel. Everyone in the yard must drink from the Lelo burti ball to wish victory to the players and strength to the ball.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Once the ball is thrown in the game, the force of several hundred people explodes. Like a whirlwind, the players move in unpredictable directions destroying everything in their path. Some men ruthlessly fight for the ball on the field. Others watch the situation from a higher ground to prevent the opposing team from secretly smuggling the ball out of the field.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Shukhuti village is calm before the storm. Men from both parts of the village discuss strategies for the upcoming battle or spend their last quite hours of the day with their families.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

The Burti ball is made on the eve of the Lelo. The honour is bestowed on the single local family, which has remained in the trade of shoemaking from centuries. On the festive morning, the empty ball is stuff with earth, sand and wine. It will continue during the afternoon. The crowd toasts to wish luck and good health to the players : they drink wine from the ball itself, using it as a vessel. Everyone in the yard must drink from the Lelo burti ball to wish victory to the players and strength to the ball.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

The winning part of the village carries the ball.
They will carry it to the cemetery to place it on the grave of the last player who died. It's a reflection of Georgian Orthodox Church tradition of visiting cemeteries on Easter to commemorate loved ones.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Lelo is a male game but women also get to play their part. They do not fight for the ball, but try to help their teams by pinching and distracting men from the opposing team.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Once the ball is thrown in the game, the force of several hundred people explodes. Like a whirlwind, the players move in unpredictable directions destroying everything in their path. Some men ruthlessly fight for the ball on the field. Others watch the situation from a higher ground to prevent the opposing team from secretly smuggling the ball out of the field.
Two streams demarcate the battlefield and the aim is simple: whichever side is the first to carry the 16-kilogram leather ball back to their stream wins the game.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Teams are made up of inhabitants from the upper and lower halves of the village. The aim is simple: whichever side is the first to carry the 16-kilogram leather ball back to their creek wins the game.
The ball is thrown to the crowd by the pope in the carefully measured centre between the two creeks, and for several hours the approximately 150 meters field becomes a battlefield.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Once in the cemetery, the ball is placed on the grave of the last player who died. This years it was placed on the grave of the young Misha who tragically died in a car accident.
The villagers toast and drink wine at the cemetery. Many older balls can be seen on other graves – some had been placed there quite recently and still bear wine stains, some are almost rotten but continue to sit atop the graves.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Local orthodox pope Saba carries the ball to start the game. The pope is a former Greco-Roman wrestler who has played Lelo for three decades. He has been endowed with the upstanding privilege to bless the ball and throw it to the players for 13 years.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

The players stuff the ball with sand, earth and wine till the afternoon. During the ceremony, the villagers toasts to wish luck and good health to the players : the crowd drinks wine from the ball itself, using it as a vessel. Everyone in the yard must drink from the Lelo burti ball wishing victory to the players and strength to the ball.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

Once the ball is thrown in the game, the force of several hundred people explodes. Like a whirlwind, the players move in unpredictable directions destroying everything in their path. Some men ruthlessly fight for the ball on the field. Others watch the situation from a higher ground to prevent the opposing team from secretly smuggling the ball out of the field.
Two streams demarcate the battlefield and the aim is simple: whichever side is the first to carry the 16-kilogram leather ball back to their stream wins the game.

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Ancient tradition of Lelo
Georgia
By Arturas Morozovas
20 Apr 2014

After a couple of hours of toasts and jokes , the ritual of stuffing the ball comes to an end. Once the ball is stuffed, it undergoes another weighing. An archaic scale shows almost 18 kilograms, but an inhabitant assures that “once the wine evaporates, it will be exactly 16 kilograms”.

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British-Georgian film Epic is shootin...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
12 Jan 2013

British producer Mike Downey and director Ben Hopkins shoot new film Epic in Georgia. The film is an international co-production between the UK, Germany, Russia and Georgia.

As it is mentioned in official press release of the Georgian National Film Center, Tbilisi-based production company 20 Steps Productions will shoot Epic, an international co-production between the UK, Germany, Russia and Georgia. Epic is supported by the British Film Institute (UK), the HessenInvestFilm fund (Germany), Metra (Russia), and the French-German cultural channel Arte, as well as the Georgian National Film Centre.

The film is a co-production between London-based producers Film and Music Entertainment led by Mike Downey and Sam Taylor, Daniel Zuta’s Frankfurt located Brandstorm Entertainment, Metra Films’ Artem Vassiliev in Moscow and Tbilisi’s 20 Steps owned by Vladimer Katcharava.

The list of international cast includes Matthew Macfadyen as Emil Forester, whose performance as Darcy opposite Keira Knightly in Pride and Prejudice is the stuff of cinematic legend. Opposite him plays the heroine of the latest Twilight – Breaking Dawn mega-franchise, Myanna Buring as love interest and heroine Tulpan. German actor Richard van Weyden takes centre stage playing himself and also the founder of the Karastani nation.

Epic is a gentle black comedy about a confused, washed up Academy Award winning British director Emil Forester, who is invited by a nascent state to make a national Epic in an obscure Caucasus Republic. When Emil Forester receives an invitation to the Embassy of the Autonomous Republic of Karastan in London to discuss his career and to receive an invitation for a retrospective of his films in ‘Karastan - Land of Inspiration’, little did he know that he would be embarking on one of the wildest journeys of his already diverse and colorful career.

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The prime minister of Georgia Bidzina...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
24 Dec 2012

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili held a press conference and answered the questions of representatives of international media.

Ivanishvili said that he is not going to stay in politics for a long time and does not intend to become the president of Georgia.

During the press conference the prime minister talked about the State Budget, pensions, tariffs for electricity, Georgian-Russian relations. The prime minister has also talked about the reforms in juridical system and courts. Ivanishvili also talked about his visit to Azerbaijan and questions he will negotiate with the government and president of Azerbaijan.

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Bidzina Ivanishvili "I shall not be t...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
24 Dec 2012

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili held a press conference and answered the questions asked by representatives of international media.

Ivanishvili said that he is not going to stay in politics for a long time and does not intend to become the president of Georgia.

During the press conference the Prime minister talked about the state budget, pensions, tariffs for electricity, Georgian-Russian relations. The Prime minister also discussed the reforms in juridical system and courts. Ivanishvili talked about his visit to Azerbaijan and questions he will negotiate with the government and president of Azerbaijan.

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Bidzina Ivanishvili "I shall not be t...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
24 Dec 2012

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili held a press conference and answered the questions asked by representatives of international media.

Ivanishvili said that he is not going to stay in politics for a long time and does not intend to become the president of Georgia.

During the press conference the Prime minister talked about the state budget, pensions, tariffs for electricity, Georgian-Russian relations. The Prime minister also discussed the reforms in juridical system and courts. Ivanishvili talked about his visit to Azerbaijan and questions he will negotiate with the government and president of Azerbaijan.

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Bidzina Ivanishvili "I shall not be t...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
24 Dec 2012

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili held a press conference and answered the questions asked by representatives of international media.

Ivanishvili said that he is not going to stay in politics for a long time and does not intend to become the president of Georgia.

During the press conference the Prime minister talked about the state budget, pensions, tariffs for electricity, Georgian-Russian relations. The Prime minister also discussed the reforms in juridical system and courts. Ivanishvili talked about his visit to Azerbaijan and questions he will negotiate with the government and president of Azerbaijan.

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Bidzina Ivanishvili "I shall not be t...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
24 Dec 2012

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili held a press conference and answered the questions asked by representatives of international media.

Ivanishvili said that he is not going to stay in politics for a long time and does not intend to become the president of Georgia.

During the press conference the Prime minister talked about the state budget, pensions, tariffs for electricity, Georgian-Russian relations. The Prime minister also discussed the reforms in juridical system and courts. Ivanishvili talked about his visit to Azerbaijan and questions he will negotiate with the government and president of Azerbaijan.

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Bidzina Ivanishvili "I shall not be t...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
24 Dec 2012

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili held a press conference and answered the questions asked by representatives of international media.

Ivanishvili said that he is not going to stay in politics for a long time and does not intend to become the president of Georgia.

During the press conference the Prime minister talked about the state budget, pensions, tariffs for electricity, Georgian-Russian relations. The Prime minister also discussed the reforms in juridical system and courts. Ivanishvili talked about his visit to Azerbaijan and questions he will negotiate with the government and president of Azerbaijan.

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Bidzina Ivanishvili "I shall not be t...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
24 Dec 2012

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili held a press conference and answered the questions asked by representatives of international media.

Ivanishvili said that he is not going to stay in politics for a long time and does not intend to become the president of Georgia.

During the press conference the Prime minister talked about the state budget, pensions, tariffs for electricity, Georgian-Russian relations. The Prime minister also discussed the reforms in juridical system and courts. Ivanishvili talked about his visit to Azerbaijan and questions he will negotiate with the government and president of Azerbaijan.