The Chechen Republic is rich in traditions. Traditional rituals, dances, weddings, and even an ordinary dinner in Chechnya were held in their own way. However, even now many of the old traditions are preserved and flourished.

The customs of Chechens

From ancient times Chechens are famous for their customs. Adats (“custom” – Arab.,) Chechens are an integral part of their daily life. It is the older generations who have passed and are still transmitting traditions and customs in every Chechen family.  The code of rules in the Chechen society developed over the centuries. Many of them are listed in the Moral Code. But there are also unwritten laws, which to date are important for any representative of this people. The origins of these beautiful customs are in the ancient history of the Chechens. Great value in the Chechen society has hospitality. This is clearly seen in folk culture, in proverbs, sayings and fairy tales. The reason for this was the old way of life. In mountainous terrain, in life-threatening conditions, people always invited a traveler home, gave him bread and lodging for the night. So it was accepted in any Chechen family. Familiar or unfamiliar, if a person needed a roof over his head, he received it. The guest was not asked about the reason and purpose of his arrival, until he himself said. Three days after arrival, the guest lost this status and had to either leave the house, or take part in his immediate life, in economic work. 

Gift to the guest

A very interesting custom for many other nationalities is the custom of gift to the guest. If the guest liked any object in the house, then the owner should offer him a gift. However, there were people who subsequently condemned the guest for luring out items. He could be a man of “slave etiquette.”   There are also several rules concerning hospitality and cordiality. The owner of the house, taking guests, should take the place nearest to the doors, thereby showing that he is the most insignificant person in the house. It is also important that the owner at the table should eat as long as his guests are eating. The interruption of the meal was considered the first to be a gross violation of etiquette.   If visitors come to the house who are not close relatives or neighbors, then women should not serve them. This can be done by adult sons, young relatives or neighbor youths. Some people mistakenly assume that the rights of Chechen women are being infringed. However, it is not. A woman who is the mother of worthy sons has the right to take equal part in the council of men. In general, Chechen society strictly observes all the traditions that concern women. For example, when an extraneous woman enters the house, all men must stand up. If a woman comes to visit, then all ceremonies and decorum are respected with respect to her. If a man and a woman go together, the woman should go one step behind the man. This custom is explained by the fact that in ancient times a man was the first to meet the danger. If two men walk together, the younger one should go left and half a step behind. This is explained by the fact that the younger one should cover the left, unprotected side of the elder brother. If three men walk together, the elder goes in the middle, and the younger ones on the sides, a little behind the big brother. A man with outsiders should never take his child in his arms or caress him with words or with touches. The same applies to the mother. If a small child has begun to cry or has been capricious, the mother must carry or take him to another room. Children should not be prevented from interfering with a guest or guests talking to the owner of the house, unless the guests themselves strongly request the bringing of children. The younger one should not cross the road to the elder, but should stop and let him pass, greeting each other with respectful greetings. A woman should miss a man. It is considered extreme tactlessness if the junior interrupts the elder or starts conversation with the elder without his request or permission.  Any adult male has the right to stop, even with the use of weapons, the abduction of a girl. If blood is spilled during this, the girl’s relatives are obliged to accept enmity for themselves, releasing the intercessor from the persecution by the bloodlines. A daughter-in-law must feed her husband, only feeding her parents beforehand, if they all live in the same house or in a close neighborhood. Marriages are not allowed if the guy and the girl are in relation to each other even if in a seven-year kinship. Even with more distant kinship, such marriages are condemned, but are not considered as a malign violation of traditions. In olden times, as a sign of respect for his village, a man sat on his horse only outside the village, and before that he walked, leading his horse on the occasion.  It was considered a bad form to take offense at a joke. However, jokes should not have contained obvious insults. It was considered shame and cowardice to lay bare arms on the offender and not strike. Therefore, the Chechens only in the most extreme cases took up arms. The mounted man always greeted first with foot, and descending down the slope of the mountain – with the one who goes up. A man never says “my wife”, he is expressed by euphemisms: “the one in the house”, “the mother of these children”, etc. Also, a woman does not say “my husband”, avoiding euphemisms. At age 63, men have an age, called “the age of unleashing the belt,” that is, it was believed that from that time on, he could go out without a dagger, and there was no military duty on it. Under equal conditions, a man should pay more respect to his uncles on the part of the mother than to his father’s uncles. Uncle’s mother’s uncle, when he reached the age of majority (15 years), gave him a riding horse, and his father’s uncle was a weapon. Beggars must be served in any case, even if you suspect that they are scammers, and not people who need support. You can not lure the animals with an empty palm: to deceive dumb animals or a small child is a despicable act. An oath friend, even if he is a representative of another teip, has the right to make a blood vengeance on the side of the twin. If any girl turns to a boy or a man with the words “become my brother,” they must solve any of her problems, even at a risk to life. A young man and a girl can meet only in public, in public places. If the father discovers that his son is smoking, he warns him through his mother about the inadmissibility of smoking, and immediately quits smoking. The found thing or money should be given to witnesses to the rural mullah, so that he can find the one who lost them. If children quarreled or made a fight, then parents should first scold their children, without deciding which of them is right or wrong. Touching a man’s papa is considered a serious insult, it is equal to a slap in the face. Interrupting the speaker is a sign of disrespect for him. In extreme cases, when the circumstances so require, it is necessary to tell the speaker: “Do not forget your word.”  There are a lot of old traditions in Chechnya. And despite the fact that today the city of Grozny is built up by skyscrapers, and everyone has a phone in his pocket, the Chechen people are still trying not to lose their culture.      

Chechen traditions

Chechen traditions, traditional dresses, dances, weddings, guide to Russia