Thursday, August 16, 2012

VIDEO: Lipaanali (ლიფაანალი) in Georgia (Caucasus). Posted by Nika Gobejishvili (

( Lipaanali festival is celebrated in Svaneti one day before Epiphany, on January 18th. During this festival souls of ancestors or "didebuli" (the majestic ones) are invited from the western entrance of a local church all the way to each family's home, where they stay till the next morning. Every family carefully prepares for this ritual. The day the souls are invited, "adgom", is spent cleaning and scrubbing the house. As they say in Svaneti, - "the spirits will not enter the house during adgom, unless all bits of fat are cleaned." The Georgian Orthodox Church assigns its heaviest fasting to this day, while Svans developed a folk ritual around it.

The head of the family puts several kveri (small, round bread with a filling, "lemzir" in Svanian) and zedashe (best quality wine used for religious rituals) on a wooden tray, goes to the western entrance of a local church and asks the Lord to let his ancestors out of heaven. After this, he returns back home, all the while praying and asking his ancestors to follow him. The rest of the family waits inside the house with a table full of special dishes ready for the "guests". After midnight, during epiphany, an especially rich feast is organized by the family. The didebuli are entertained during the whole night. Family members tell fairy tales, sing and play on Chuniri, and try to imagine those who have passed away. A special table is laid out for the didebuli where no living person is allowed to sit. The chairs are pulled out, which makes it seem like there are actually souls sitting on them. On Saturday evening the didebuli leave for Lalkhori (a gathering) where they discuss the fate of the family and what will happen to it over the next year. The souls are said to protect their descendants this way. On Sunday the souls return from Lalkhori and the family greets them with hot porridge. Lipaanali lasts until the following Monday. On Monday morning, "joodi" (long morning), the souls are seen off. Every member of the family needs to be up before sunrise. The family blesses their ancestor's feast table, after which the head of the family takes milk with honey, pours it bit by bit on the ground and prays, - "m'jaar Tuaar shukvaru jaarkh " - "may you have sunny roads". We asked the Svans whether they truly believed in souls of their ancestors visiting them, to which they responded by telling convincing stories about their existence. 

Original Source:

Assistent: Madona Chamgeliani

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