Supra (feast)

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A Supra (Georgian: სუფრა [supʰra]) is a traditional Georgian feast and an important part of Georgian social culture. There are two types of Supra: a festive supra (ლხინის სუფრა, [lxɪnɪs sʊpʰra]), called a Keipi, and a sombre supra (ჭირის სუფრა, [tʃʼɪrɪs sʊpʰra]), called a Kelekhi that is always held after burials.

Etymology[edit]

In Georgian, "supra" means "table-cloth". It's likely related to the Arabic 'sofra' (سفرة) and Turkish 'sofra', which are both words for traditional eating surfaces.[citation needed] Large public meals are never held in Georgia without a supra; when there are no tables, the supra is laid on the ground.

Rules of Supra[edit]

Regardless of size and type, a supra is always led by a Tamada, or toastmaster, who introduces each toast during the feast. The Tamada is elected by the banqueting guests or chosen by the host. A successful Tamada must possess great rhetorical skill and be able to consume a large amount of alcohol without showing signs of drunkenness.[1] During the meal, the Tamada will propose a toast, and then speak at some length about the topic. The guests raise their glasses, but do not drink. After the Tamada has spoken, the toast continues, often in a generally counter-clockwise direction (to the right). The next guest who wishes to speak raises their glass, holds forth, and then drains their glass. If a guest does not wish to speak, they may drink from their glass after some words that particularly resonate for him or her. Eating is entirely appropriate during toasts, but talking is frowned upon. Once everyone who wishes to speak on the theme has done so, the Tamada proposes a new toast, and the cycle begins again. Some popular traditional themes include toasts to God, Georgia, family, the mother of God, various saints, friends, ancestors, and so on. However, the theme of each toast is up to the Tamada, who should be able to tailor his or her toasts to the occasion.

A Keipi toast is called s "Sadghegrdzelo" (სადღეგრძელო, [sadɣɛɡrdzɛlɔ]), while a Kelekhi toast is called a "Shesandobari" (შესანდობარი, [ʃɛsandɔbarɪ]).

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