The Armenians of Akhalkalaki, Georgia, celebrate Trndez, the traditional festival of newlyweds, on February 13. A local priest conducts a religious service to bless the newlyweds and presents each couple with a copy of the Bible. Following sunset, a bonfire is lit and the couples jump over it holding hands.
In Akhalkalaki, where unemployment runs higher than the Georgian national average, winter has been a traditional wedding time following the breakup of the Soviet Union. In spring most of male population leaves Georgia to look for work abroad, mostly in Russia and Armenia, and then returns home in late fall.
Temo Bardzimashvili is a freelance photojournalist based in Tbilisi.
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