Adishi-Jandara community celebrates the birth of its sons

In early August, Adishi has a festival to celebrate the births of male children who were born the previous year, and people pray for the birth of sons in the upcoming year. As in the nearby village of Kala, which celebrates the more famous Kvirikoba festival, the Adishi festival involves sacrificing sheep to the old Svani goddess of fertility, Kviria. This year, more than 150 people walked or rode their horses about 3 kilometers to a small church in the hills, where about 50 sheep were sacrificed. Copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

In addition to taking sheep to the church, people also carried home-made wine, vodka and bread. Copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

Mukhran, one of the Adishi leaders, brought an icon of St. George to the fertility festival. Copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

Inside the Adishi church, village leaders passed a candle over each sheep, then walked the sheep in a circle, and prayed. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

For about five hours, men from Adishi and Jandara (where many former Adishi residents have been resettled), prayed over offerings such as wine, vodka, bread, sheep, roasted mutton, and money. Tarzan Kaldani (left) and Emzar Kaldani (right) make the sign of the cross as the offerings are being made. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

After their sheep had been blessed inside the Adishi church, men butchered them in the surrounding field. Copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

Men hung chunks of skinned sheep from a rail until the meat could be boiled in one of the two huge cauldrons. Then families and friends enjoyed the meat as they gathered in small groups on the hillside for a picnic. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.


While waiting for the mutton to cook, a group of younger men gathered to watch each other attempt to lift a 150-kilogram stone above their shoulders and then let the stone fall behind their backs. Copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.


Towards the end of the festival, people swarmed around Emzar Kaldani to give him 5 – 10 GEL notes and names of people they wanted to be blessed. Behind Emzar, colorful flags fly from tall poles. Parents who gave birth to a son the previous year created these flags and decorated them with their sons’ names. In 2012, about 15 sons were born in the Adishi-Jandara community. Copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.