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Georgia Customs & Etiquettes
 
 
 

General

Georgia is a hierarchical society. Age, position and power usually earn respect. Elders are generally held in high esteem and thus the reason they are introduced first when greeting. Along with respect comes responsibility and those at the top of the hierarchy (whether the head of a household or business) will be expected make decisions that are in the best interest of the group.

Warm hospitality a very Georgian trait. Guests are seen as a gift and foreigners are therefore guests of the country. Expect to be invited to a home for a meal and try to take up the offer. The supra is a large dinner party involving many toasts. The toastmaster or "tamada" selects people to make long toasts and for special toas, a horn full of wine is passed around the table.

Beer is only used to toast the enemy! So don't toast with beer.

Meeting & Greeting

When meeting someone for the first time, shake hands while saying "gamarjoba" ("hello"). Once a relationship warms up some, but not all, Georgians will quickly move to a kiss on the cheek.

When addressing people only close friends or family will usually use first names. First names may also be used with the word "Batono" ("Sir") or "Kalbatono" ("Madam") immediately afterwards, which brings a sense of formality.

Most people would expect to be addressed with their appropriate title followed by the surname.

Gift Giving Etiquette

As with most European and North American nations, gifts are usually given at birthdays and at Christmas. However in Georgia they also have "name days" – these are the birth dates of Saints whom people are named after.

Gifts do not need to be expensive and it is more about the thought and intent behind the gift.

If invited to a Georgian home, bring flowers, imported sweets or chocolates to the hosts.

Give an odd number of flowers. Even numbers are given for funerals. Gifts do not need to be elaborately wrapped. A small gift for the children is always appreciated. Gifts are not necessarily opened when received.

Dining Etiquette & Table Mannerism

Table manners are generally unfussy and relaxed. Meals are above all a time to get together and enjoy.

Your Georgian host will want to make sure you are comfortable, well-fed and happy. If in doubt over etiquette then either watch what others do or simply ask.

Table manners are Continental, i.e. the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. Keep your hands visible when eating and try not to rest your elbows on the table. The oldest (or most honoured) guest is usually served first.

Try all the dishes if you can. You will be offered second and third helpings and accepting them will please the host. Try therefore to take smaller first portions. Finish everything on your plate. Do expect lively conversation during the meal.

 

 
 


 



 


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