Supra’s most literal translation is “feast”, but to anyone who has ever experienced one, it is much more than that. A supra is about family, friends, toasts, and tradition. There are two subtypes of supra, the keipi and kelekhi. The keipi is a joyous event, while a kelekhi is only held after funerals.
Growing up, my family only threw keipis. This was due to the fact that my Bebi and Babu (Grandmother and Grandfather respectively) only used keipi to describe the parties spent sitting around the table eating, drinking, laughing, and toasting. Any holiday, birthday, or arrival of visitors could be the inspiration for a keipi. My Babu seemed to be able to throw one together in an afternoon, while my first time hosting took days of preparation with LOTS of help from cousins.
I have no clear memory of my first keipi, seeing that I was probably an infant, but since then there has always been an overarching sense of kinship and generations past. These feelings are evoked through the toast. Traditionally there is a Tamada, toastmaster, who starts the toasts and explains the process to newbies. In my family a toast can be given standing or seated, beverage of choice drank from a glass or special khansi, drinking horn, and can be about anything. Usually toasts tend towards acknowledging the friendships, remembering those loved ones no longer with us, and saluting the next generation. Hugs are given and received. Laughs are shared. And tears are usually shed. All in a good and happy way.
There is almost too much emotion invested in keipis for me to fully explain what they mean to me. It is just important to realize that all supras are more than just eating and drinking, at least as far as I’ve experienced and what I’ve read. There is so much bonding and sharing involved. The best way to understand would be to gather your family and friends, cook your favorite and most comforting foods, drink till your a bit past tipsy (if your above the legal drinking age ;)) and try to verbalize what you love about those surrounding you. Through toasts of course.