Last week, we examined how understanding the way Georgians regard food and drink is essential to understanding their cultural identity. But just as food and drink are clearly linked to national identity, folklore is the other side of the coin.
This legend involves wine – and remains part of popular belief in almost every corner of Georgia.
When God lived on earth – in Georgia, obviously – he wanted to make life richer for those who were driven out of Heaven and forced to live on Earth. After much contemplation, he decided to create a beverage that would take people back to Heaven even if only for a short time. He invited all the angels and the devil to taste his creation: wine.
Everyone loved wine, including the devil. But the devil felt obligated to compete with God. So, he created chacha, the potent spirit made from the remains of crushed wine grapes, and invited God to taste it. God drank one glass of chacha, then a second, a third and a fourth. After the fourth, he said to the devil: ‘those who will drink three glasses of chacha may be on my side, after the that, they are yours’.
So, even today, during the supra when older members of the community are invited to drink by the Tamada, they call the fourth glass of chacha or wine, ‘of a devil’ and move on to the fifth glass quickly.