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Social Life in Georgia

Behavior

The Georgians are conservative in most aspects of their lives and this is best seen in their behaviors, dress, and dining etiquette. They tend to dress and act conservatively, much of which is based on their deeply rooted Christian faith. To a degree they also maintain much of the Soviet mentality as they rarely get involved in other people's personal affairs and tend to keep to themselves when in public. Due to this attitude, the people take offense at few things. Although everyone will notice odd behaviors and cultural abnormalities, rarely will anyone point out your cultural mistakes.

As a visitor to Georgia try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing in alike manner (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Georgia Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, or showing off wealth.

Dress

The traditional dress in Georgia is the chokha, which was an item of clothing that was first common in Georgia, but later became popular throughout the Caucus Mountains. This outfit has been popular since the 800s, although during the Soviet rule it was banned. The chokha, which essentially just means clothing has traditionally come in a few different styles, but all have similarities. Most shirts were rectangular loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts with some decoration, generally crosses. With this shirt underclothing, including pants and shirts were worn as were additional robes, hats, and often times weapons in the form of swords or guns and bullets, held in a belt or sash.

Although the Soviets replaced the chokha with modern western-styled clothing, today the chokha is gaining popularity as a form of pride in the Georgian ethnicity. Despite this resurgence, most people still wear western-styled clothing and often times the clothing is somewhat conservative, especially in cities and in churches.

As a visitor to Georgia you are free to wear nearly any western-styled clothing, but try to dress for the occasion and the weather. Business settings require more formal dress and in churches men and women should have both their arms and legs covered.

This page was last updated: November, 2013