“Old New Year” falls on January 14. In Western Georgia, especially in Guria, the Old New Year is celebrated more often than December 31. They call the new year “Kalandoba”. “Kalanda” is a Roman word meaning the first day of the new year.
According to the Julian calendar used by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the real New Year falls on January 13, and Georgians called it Old New Year. This holiday is dedicated to Saint Basil, who is considered the Mekvle of Georgians.
Georgians celebrate the Old New Year with the same fun, and it’s really a real happiness to have more time and opportunity to share sincere and warm emotions with your family and friends – and this undoubtedly charges you with positive energy until the next New Year.
The Mekvle is the first person to enter the house on New Year’s Day. Kvali (კვალი) means step/footstep in Georgian. It is believed that the coming year will pass in harmony with the happiness, joy and good fortune that the Mekvle brings.
When entering the house, the Mekvle pronounces the following words, rhyming in Georgian: “I have stepped here – God bless you, my step is the footprint of an angel …..” – which is accompanied by the sprinkling of sweets, nuts and fruits in all corners of the house.
In the past, Mekvle was a man who brought sweets and fruits to the family. But gender doesn’t really matter these days. In the past, every family tried to have a person with positive emotions so that this person’s personality would reflect the New Year. However, nowadays the custom has changed a bit and people often don’t attach so much importance to it.