On 7th January we joined the Alilo Christmas procession in Tbilisi from the Rose Square to Sameba Cathedral. “Alilo” is a Georgian traditional Christmas song that now refers to the practice of walking from home to home singing and collecting donations for the less fortunate that has nowadays transformed into a massive street celebration where people gather in several spots of the city and move along the streets to the cathedral.
As we guessed, it metaphorically stands for the shepherds who heard the heavenly angel choirs (in our case impersonated by a nice white Mitsubishi with speakers on top and several people dressed in church clothing) and went to visit new-born Jesus and bring him gifts (in this case, donations - as Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” which also means that what we do for the least of these, we do for him).
The angelic Mitsubishi was followed by four boys dressed as shepherds and carts pulled by some bulls who behaved in a very dignified and respectable manner as if recently graduated from Young Gentlemen Biblical Scene Acting Academy. Several priests made sure that we inhale the divine presence instead of exhaust fumes and others generously poured holy water over the heads of the crowd purifying us from our sins.
Changing scope from a local, private visitations to a mass procession certainly reaches the goal of creating an impression of societal unity and peaceful revolution, exchanging intimacy for grandeur which is appropriate, considering the culture of collectivity. I observed various impressions among the general public from light nonchalance to being deeply touched on the verge of tears.