After signalling their intention to declare 12 August, Didgoroba (the day of Didgori) a public holiday, Georgia’s parliament has now been presented a proposal to add another Orthodox Christian holiday to the calendar.
A new legislative proposal was registered on 4 April to Parliament’s Health and Social Affairs Committee by the Left-wing Alliance, a fringe left-wing political party, which would turn another religious celebration into a public holiday.
Khareba (georgian for Annunciation) — which is the Christian celebration of ‘the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus’ — is observed on 7 April annually in Georgia.
The Alliance argues that Khareba is an extraordinary day, which ‘even survived the unbridled battle with the Soviet regime’ and is essentially important to Orthodox Christians.
The Health Committee has not yet decided whether or not to discuss the initiative. According to parliamentary procedures, if the legislative proposal is accepted, the leading committee will be responsible for launching a legislative initiative, which can result in consideration of a draft law by parliament.
A few weeks earlier, an initiative to declare the historical holiday of Didgoroba a public holiday passed its first reading in parliament. Didgoroba celebrates the 1121 victory of the Kingdom of Georgia over the Great Seljuk Empire (a medieval Turko-Persian empire and predecessor to the Ottoman Empire) in the Battle of Didgori. The day has become a part of Georgia’s national identity, as a day when the ‘Islamic threat to Georgian identity was defeated’.
There are 18 official public holidays in Georgia, including religious holidays, International Women’s Day, Independance Day, and the Day of Victory Over Fascism.