Independence Day: Part One

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Okay, so as a Brit I can’t say I know much about how it feels to become independent, but the 26th May taught me a little something about it…

I’ll try and take you through chronologically here. Bear with me.

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The day started slow, after a late night and a long breakfast (my favourite way to start the day) we eventually headed out to help Shota’s friend, Levan, get something he needed for his car.

Of course, that meant a trip to the less-desirable part of town, Iliava (don’t quote me on that spelling) where you can find anything you need if you want to build anything, ever. Otherwise known as masculine heaven, where they take their sweet ass time to look at some grubby old bumpers.

The heat was pressing and so was my desire for an icecream, so we moved on. After much difficulty parking near Rustaveli, we ventured into the 27 degree heat in what seemed to be the entire population of Georgia in one street.

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So Independence Day is the anniversary where Georgia celebrates the 1918 Act of Independence where the Democratic Republic of Georgia was established after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Read more on the Wiki link if you like.

I was a little confused, since they spent a good 50+ years as part of the Soviet Union after that, and have another Independence Day on the 31st March (1991) but don’t celebrate it on such a scale. For me, logically the big celebration would be for that one, right? Since a lot of people alive in Georgia today lived in the Soviet Union. I don’t know, there’s a lot of tension about that at the moment as it is.

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This flag is actually the old Georgian flag, which was changed recently during Saakashvili’s government to the one that looks like the English flag but with more crosses. I love this lady’s face though.

So, onto the celebrations!

Like any public holiday/ celebration there were plenty of performances, stalls and exhibitions set-up all the way down Rustaveli Avenue. Everywhere you looked there was someone singing or dancing (they’re not a shy bunch) but I have to admit there was a disappointing lack of food and drink stalls considering we were in wine country.

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It was sort of like the Jubilee, but of course sans Royalty. The same sense of community and unity was in the air, although ironically I noticed more people wearing Union Jack’s on their clothes than I did the Georgian flag! However that’s just fashion, darling.

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There was plenty of entertainment, especially for/ with kids. Everyone loves kids here, I’ve never seen anything like it. Even kids like kids here. Weird.

Trampolining…
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Face painting…
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Pretty hoop/ribbon dancing…
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Chess…
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And a little something for the bigger kids too… Arm wrestling.
P1080812 copyThese men were like moths to a flame, I could smell the testosterone.

Wrestling wrestling…
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See-if-you’re-strong-enough-and-manly-enough-to-hold-yourself-up-for-two-minutes-ing…
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The ministries exhibited some things too, like what they’re doing, what equipment they have, their missions, etc etc. This meant there were a lot of policemen modelling guns, and huge tanks and artillery on show (note the drone helicopter below! Real James Bond stuff going on there!).

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I was more interested in the food…

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And the charming ceramics, rugs and flowers that were adorning the street

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Some Georgian satire for you. They’re happy that they don’t need a visa anymore to go to Italy… But they do. 
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We finally took to one of the backstreets to find our way back to the car, leading to some discoveries of the cutest balconies and alleyways.

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This was enough parading for today, now we need some food… To be continued!

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9 thoughts on “Independence Day: Part One

  1. awtytravels says:

    Well, if all they want to do now that they don’t have to have a visa for Italy is doing a selfie in front of the Colosseum… Re-instate that Visa! (just kidding!).

    Anyhow, it’s nice to see how “popular” (in the sense for the people) this celebration is, it reminds me of those village fairs I used to go to whenever I have the chance (sans the local fella crashing his tractor into a wall while parking it and shouting enough swearwords to last someone else a year!).

    Like

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