The Code of the guest. Part 2.

Russian and Ukrainians aren’t explained the code of «guest and hospitality.» Russian and Ukrainian traditions are also of high morality. In Russia the first writing rules of conduct were made by Prince Vladimir Monomakh. They were called «Поучение».

 

 

Prince Vladimir Monomakh (1053-1125)

«Wherever you go, do not let either your sons or another’s sons to hurt people in villages… Whenever you stop, give a drink and feed everyone who asks… Honour the guest whenever he came from. No matter if a man is poor or rich. Look after the sick one; pay the last tribute to dead one… Do not pass by a man without saying good word to him.” So we understand the customs of Caucasian people, with an open heart we can also receive visitors. Love of our people is natural and unbreakable. As Lesia Ukrainka said: «If I were not Ukrainian, I’d be Georgian!”

 

About toasts… the Georgians have much more experience and skills in proposing the toasts than Ukrainians. The toast of the Slavs is usually a short as a shot! The Slavs do not have the tradition of long toasts! But before the trip to Georgia it is necessary to master this art. Therefore, let’s hold a lesson about the behaviour at the Georgian table.

 

 

In the Caucasian traditions the toast is an opportunity to say something good about hosts, guests, or make wise wishes at the holiday table. Toasts perfectly structure a feast and do not allow feast to turn into primitive booze. You can do a lot of good saying a toast: please the hosts who entertain and receive guests; emphasize the importance and honour of the guests; show your wisdom and sense of humour; learn something new about attendants.

 

The recipe of a good toast is very easy. The basis is usually some kind of a story: a parable or a true story of life. Experienced toast-tellers can even intersperse anecdotes and invent some imaginary conditions. The main thing is that this story should be ended with praise or wishes. The skill of proposing toast is that until the last minute guests should not guess about the main point of the wish, but in the end all the present will understand that the toast has ended and all shall clink glasses.

 

It is not so difficult to think of a toast. You just need to concentrate on what you like in the hosts, on the importance of feast. The ideas will definitely come. Inexperienced and ineloquent people should prepare in advance to come up and rehearse the speech at the banquet. When the toastmaster will give you the opportunity to speak, you need to think about the appropriateness of one or another toast, because the toast should be proposed in order of importance: for example, firstly you should drink for the hosts, than for the guests. Toasts are spoken in the standing position. A glass should be held below shoulder level, at about the third button of man’s shirt. Men should hold their glasses lower than ladies do. One last toast is for toast-man, for his talent, patience and ability to hold a feast. In response toastmaster will always say the toast to the health ad for future meetings!

 

It is thanks to the traditions to propose a toast the culture of feasts in Georgia is very high. The main thing is that people have the capacity for truthfulness, because only sincerity gives real warmth and kindness of the wishes and reaches the highest form of table unity.

 

 

I want to say that in order to make the feast successful it is not necessary to drink alcohol. Nowadays the number of non-drinking people is increasing, so the sigh of manners of hosts and guests is acceptance of non-drinking person with no comments. No matter why a person doesn’t drink alcohol, you should not joke about it and pay attention to it. The right thing to do in such situation is to pour soft drink into the glass and clink glasses with other guests. Mineral water «Borjomi” will be very appropriate in such cases, it can easily replace the alcohol.

 

And now I want to say a toast, which I invented while I was writing this post! On May 18 was the birthday of the great Omar Khayyam. Therefore, I want to tell you his parable!

«The sage and the disciple were sitting at the gate of their city. A traveller comes up and asks: «What kind of people live in this town?»

«And what kind of people live in your town?” — the sage asked.

 

«Oh, the scoundrels and thieves, vicious and depraved».

— «Here are the same people,» — replied the sage.

After some time another traveller approached and also asked about

the people in this city.

«And what kind of people live in your town?” — the sage asked.

«Beautiful people, kind and responsive,» — replied the stranger.

«Here you will find the same» — said the sage.

«Why did you tell one traveller that there are scoundrels in our town and that here live good people to another one?” — asked the sage disciple.

«Everywhere there are good people and bad,» — replied the sage. – The thing is that everyone finds what he seeks for! »

 

So, my friends, I wish you to go to Georgia and met only nice people there. Let the friendship between our two countries grows stronger!

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