The supra, an important aspect of traditional Georgian social culture
Niko Pirosmani, Banquet des quatre citadins © Musée National de Géorgie, Musée des Beaux-arts

One of the most important aspects of traditional Georgian social culture is the supra. A supra, which literally means “table-cloth”, is a festive meal, accompanied by Georgian wine and food, during which the tamada — or toastmaster — celebrates life and death with toasts. In between these toasts, both speeches and polyphonic singing create a particular rhythm to the supra’s progress. A supra also comes with a strict set of rules. The tamada, who is elected by the host or guests, is typically a man, while, generally, the women tend to meal. During the meal, he proposes different toasts and invites the guests to raise their glasses and to interact by proposing a toast of their own. Supras also take place after funerals, and are called kelekhi in this context.

The tradition of the supra has inspired many Georgian artists, including the painter Pirosmani, who portrayed the supra in various aspects of his work. During europalia georgia, different projects will approach the supra, each in their own way. With Supra – A Feast, author Nino Haratischwili explores this tradition from a female perspective, with the viewer. Four female Georgian musicians and three actresses join the table. They eat, drink and sing, tell stories of women and question existing structures. In Mastering Ceremonies, Zinaïda Tchelidze interprets certain codes of this Georgian feast and gives her invited masters of ceremony playful, open-ended tasks. Through a diversity of voices and contextual juxtapositions, she reimagines how gatherings and ceremonies function, expand and shift through this collaborative process, creating something new by situating ancient knowledge in a different present context.

Discover the tradition of the supra during europalia georgia