A brief glimpse back

Sadly, this is my final week in the Republic of Georgia. Today is my last day at the Ministry of Environment where I have spent the past three and a half months as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer working with great people on interesting PR projects. My Peace Corps reports are finished and waiting to be signed, and hundreds of my photos are sitting in my files waiting to be shared with you! Since I only have a little time left here, I’m letting myself get further and further behind in posting my memories so I can spend time with my Georgian host family, who are absolutely wonderful and so much fun!

I promise to catch-up soon on my photos. I’m sure it will take me a few weeks to sort through all the photos I’ve already taken and the hundreds more I plan to take in my remaining three days. Until I get my photographic act together, I thought I would share a brief glimpse of one of my favorite holiday traditions here.

These sweet little trees were for sale in markets and along streets before the holidays. I’d never seen anything like them and quickly fell under their ancient holiday spell.

Chichilaki are made from young walnut or hazelnut tree branches that are shaved, and curl naturally during the process. (I have been told that only hazelnut trees are used and just as adamantly told that only walnut trees are used. As yet I have no final verification if one or the other or both are acceptable!) I can confirm that they range in size from 10 inches to four feet!

Once bought, these blonde beauties are given an important place on the table during New Year’s celebrations. They are decorated with candies, and are said to absorb all the bad memories accumulated in the home during the year. On the eve of Epiphany they are burnt as a way of symbolically reducing bad memories to ashes. I like that. 

To read and see more about how Chichilaki are made, click here. To see more photos of my wonderful days in Georgia return often to Wishful Thinking Works.

11 Responses to “A brief glimpse back”

  1. Patrice Says:

    Reblogged this on Wishful Thinking Works: Create the life you really want and commented:

    Four years ago I was in the United States Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia for Christmas with a loving and wonderful family . . . here is a bit of my adventure there.

  2. Soccer Mom Style a.k.a. Maya Says:

    Hi, I just discovered your wonderful blog (quite accidentally, was looking for some photos of old Tbilisi). Are you back in the states now?
    I’m your new subscriber!
    Please check out my blog (it’s a style blog but I do post tidbits about Georgia since I miss it so much, I’m from there).
    xx
    maya

    • Patrice Says:

      Hi Maya,

      Thanks! Glad you found Wishful Thinking Works. I loved Georgia, and have lots more photos, which I am planning to post in March. I’ve been back in the States a month. Miss my Georgian host family, big time! Where are you from in Georgia? When were you last there?

      Patrice

      • Soccer Mom Style a.k.a. Maya Says:

        I was born in Rustavi, but later we moved to Tbilisi. I came to the US in 1994 to study, after completing University I got married here. We have a boy and a girl (8 and 6). I have not been in Georgia since 2000 and miss it terribly. Thinking of going to visit later this year by myself, and maybe next year go with my whole family.

  3. Patrice Says:

    You are absolutely right, I totally missed that in the article, I was so focused on Chichilaki. But, he has it wrong, some departments were moved, but Ministry of Environment Protection is still going strong.

  4. Katie K Says:

    I hope that this foundation of conservation can be built upon in Georgia! Is it really true that the Ministry of the Environment got disbanded? That would be a shame.

    • Patrice Says:

      In Georgia, Katie? No way, it is alive and well, and doing lots of good stuff! There was a reorg in 2011, perhaps that is what you heard about?

      • Katie K Says:

        That’s good to hear. In the article that you linked to, the author said the Environment Ministry got taken over by the Energy Ministry which likely isn’t ideal, hence my question.

  5. Crystal Says:

    The trees are beautiful!


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