Thursday, 11 September 2008

The Shenako Festival

It all starts first thing in the morning behind the church with no women. First take your ram, cut his head off, shake a bit of blood on the Shrine and then eat some bread, cheese and plenty of Chacha (vodka). I always seem to be good at the Chacha bit which is often my undoing.

If you don't have a son the deal is the Shenako lads will throw you over this wall as part of the picnic festival. This year a German chap broke his arm and there were a few other casualties. I was sleeping off the alcohol and so missed my chance to make a fool of myself, thank goodness.

Beka (baseball hat and pink shirt), the nephew of a great friend of ours from Tbilisi pitched up in Shenako which is an amazing coincidence. The chap dancing is a hot headed Chechen, nice guy but not someone to get in to a scrape with.

Beka with Melissa, India and Iona and the Sholta who is a sort of party maker and who's job it is to get everyone going and enjoying themselves.

More Chechen dancing. This guy has style.

The Tamada or toast master for the festival. An elder of the village who makes the toasts. The other gentlemen are of a similar stature but kept quite.

The band who had boundless energy for good times and great music.

In this picture our very good friend Alex from the US looks on as I talked to a gentleman from Docho ( up the valley) who I found out later, wanted his son to marry India. We called him 'no problem' because he decided that the marriage would of course be 'no problem'. A nice guy but I'm not so sure India would have agreed to the marriage settlement.

The girls party was something else. These women can tuck it away. Cacha that is.

More Chacha in the obligatory 'no name' plastic bottle.

In Shenako everyone will know this guy. He has a pint of beer tattooed on his arm, which he shows off at any and every given moment, hence the missing sleeve for the world to see.

Here is Nino's sister in law who's marriage was later was blessed in the church. I think the little girl is her grand daughter, she was very sweet.

Many Tushetians can play the squeeze box, and quite a few people own one. This provides music for dancing (remember no CD players as there is no electricity) and for singing often around campfires in the evening. Everyone knows the words to all the traditional Tushetian songs as did we by the end of our holiday.

The Patriarch's of the village after a good lunch

In the late afternoon sun this flock of turkey's were walked slowly through the village .

Melissa and a very drunk but happy husband.

More dancing by the Wills family.

This summers festival saw a marked difference in the appearance of horses. In 2007 we saw horses charging about all day long ending with a spectacular race. This year no race and only a few visiting horsemen. However, later in this account you can find some great racing pictures taken in another village.

A couple of the men nursing sore heads.

The Shenako festival occurs over three days or so. As a result, there appear to be numbers of spontaneous gatherings or just the odd drink at friends houses. These sessions can mean a bottle of Chacha and that's between two, then the girls start.

All you need is to hear the music in the background and it's difficult to stop dancing.

I like this picture. The goal posts and the Church. Two religions living as one in Shenako.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi chris i am onise from shenako. if you dont remember me, i was the kid who talked in english(your wife and my mother talked). i am very glad you posted these pictures on so everyone can see tusheti's true value.

P.S. i saw the picture of the "throwing off the rock festival" and i found my cousin and i in it!