Lomisoba – A mixture of Pagan and Christian Traditions

What is the Feast of Lomisoba ?! Pagan or religious purpose ?!

Lomisi is a picturesque mountain in Eastern Georgia where visitors may witness one of the most colorful and controversial (cruel) folk festivals that is celebrated on the first Wednesday after the Trinity holiday.

Lomisa is situated on the ridge of the mountain where the emerging boundary line between Georgia and South Ossetia cuts through the courtyard of the medieval church.

Lomisoba dates back to the pre – Christian period, but nowadays it is celebrated as a Christian religious festival. Even nowadays the festival has many pagan rituals, such as animal sacrifice, and people are witnessed the slaughter of sheep. There is the legend connected with Lomisa.  According to it in the 13th century, when the Khwarazmid army headed by Jalal-Ed-Din invaded the country, 7000 inhabitants of Aragvi gorge were taken hostage. The captured took the icon of St. George with them. According to the legend the icon brought the drought to the Khwarazmid country. The frustrated sultan asked for magicians, which said that the reason for this disaster was the icon brought from Georgia. First Sultan ordered the icon to be burnt. However, it flew out of the fire, placed of the horns of the bull. The bull with the icon did not move, until the last hostage was set free.  So, the 7000 Georgians started to move back to their homeland. In every place they stopped they have built the niche-shrine.

Lots of wine and meat is traditionally consumed during the festival. Because of massive sheep sacrifice, the festival is covered with blood and bodies of dead animals (sheep, cows) even the children are witnessing what the adults are doing. The festival is heavily protested against by animal right advocates, and quite rightly so.
Lomisoba is more a tradition than a belief. If it would have been done in the name of religion, we would have been haunted by the sheep.
The beautiful gorge, which has been turned into a slaughterhouse, would speak of the perverted atrocities committed in the name of religion, staining its natural beauty in blood.