Return to Alilo { 5 images } Created 7 Jul 2010

The colorful Alilo procession marches for more than five kilometers through the heart of the Georgian capital Tbilisi to commemorate the Georgian Christian Orthodox Christmas in early January. Forgotten for decades under Soviet communist rule, Alilo - meaning 'glory to God' in Georgian - was revived recently after the Caucasus country secured its independence, allowing the recognition of religion and a return to its Orthodox roots.

Hundreds of men, women and children - dressed in traditional Georgian costume as shepherds, soldiers and religious figures - join the patriarch of the Orthodox church and monks, carrying dozens of Georgian flags and crosses, singing the 'Alilo' Christmas carol and walking from Rose Square, across the Mtkvari River and up the large hill to the Holy Trinity Church overlooking the city below. Dating from the 5th Century, the annual Alilo procession was established to collect donations from villages and cities throughout the country to be given to needy families and orphanages.
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