A Super-Duper Georgian Supra

If there’s any cause to celebrate, and you’re Georgian or living in Georgia, a supra is likely the event that you’ll plan. Food, wine, friends, family, more food, and definitely more wine are the name of the game at a supra. But, a supra is more than just a feast of food and drink. They’re always viewed as something special and traditional and meaningful, and there’s a certain etiquette to follow at a supra.

Toasting…and Toasting Some More

Georgians take toasting to a serious level, even when not at a supra. Gamarjous—the Georgian equivalent to cheers!—gets thrown around more than any other word in a bar. Learn this word, and you’ll be friends with any Georgian you encounter. However, toasting at a supra is more formal and ritualistic and has a few rules that you should observe.

The Tamada

At a supra there is a tamada, a.k.a. a toastmaster. He (a tamada is typically male) is the master of ceremonies and ensures everyone is included and has a good time. He is also a master of words and, throughout the night, works systematically through 12 traditional toasts. He will start speaking, sometimes at length, until he feels the point of the toast has been made. Once he is done, other guests then get a chance to contribute to the toast, so on and so forth until the 12 toasts are done. There is no time limit to a toast (nor to the supra) so be prepared to settle in and get comfy.

Traditional Toasts at a Georgian Supra

  1. To our acquaintance and friendship
  2. To the well-being of the guests, relatives, and friends
  3. To the family of the guests
  4. To the parents and the older generation
  5. To the dead and the saints
  6. To existing and yet unborn children
  7. To the women present at the table
  8. To love
  9. To the guests’ mothers
  10. To peace on earth
  11. To the hostess
  12. To the tamada 

Rules During Toasting

Participants at the supra are welcome to eat as they please, when they please, even when a toast is going on (a tamada can be quite loquacious), but one should not drink while the tamada or others are speaking. If it is your turn to contribute to the toast, you can drink at the end of your speech or when everyone else at the table has said their piece. It goes without saying that you should not talk while others are contributing to the toast. 

Eating…and Eating Some More

Food at a supra consists of typical Georgian dishes. The table will never be empty of food, even at the end of the night. Food will keep coming and coming until you think there can’t be any more, and then more will show up. Throughout the night, you can expect to munch on: 

  • Shashlik (BBQ): Chicken, Pork, Veal
  • Assorted pickled vegetables
  • Bread
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Assorted sauces
  • Khachapuri
  • Assorted salads, which usually means cooked vegetables mixed with mayonnaise
  • Tomato and cucumber salad
  • Khinkali
  • Sweets, like churchkela, cakes, and fruit

A Digital Nomad Georgian Supra

In August 2019, we hosted our first supra for Tbilisi Digital Nomads. Twenty two nomads from six countries came and ate freely, drank plenty, and left with new friends. The first won’t be the last. Watch our event calendar for the next supra, and all the other awesome events that happen at LOKAL.  

Feast of the Malakans by Niko Pirosmani

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.