Chichilaki Featured in
Varying from 20 cm to several meters, this Christmas tree will leave you wondering. The tradition to decorate home with hazelnut branches shaved to resemble a coniferous tree is a historic one and newly reinvented after the Soviet regime collapse. The branches are pale looking and decorated with fruit and berries, most commonly pomegranates and apples. Georgians believe that the shaved branch looks a lot like St Basil's beard, who is thought to visit people during Christmas time, so he is someone like Santa.
Chichilaki are especially popular in the Guria region of Western Georgia. The New Year is called Kalanda in Guria, and Chichilaki can be seen everywhere in the villages and the region's capital Ozurgeti. At the end of the holiday season, the branches are burnt to take all the bad things away and bring good harvest and prosperity to the whole family.