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Abkhaz wedding: traditions of yesterday and today
Abkhaz wedding: traditions of yesterday and today

There are real legends about Abkhazian weddings, and even far beyond the borders of the republic itself. Their main difference is the scale and splendor of the celebration. The number of guests is always surprising, and special attention is paid to traditions. Some customs slowly but surely remain in the past, without others, on the contrary, not a single wedding takes place. The first thing to talk about is the age of the newlyweds, because even in this matter there are certain rules that have to be followed.

symbols of Abkhazia

How old are you?

First of all, oddly enough, pay attention to the age of future spouses. As for men, the average age at which the stronger sex marries is considered to be the interval from 25 to 32 years, for young ladies these figures are less - from 18 to 25. As practice shows, if a girl is already 25 or more, she is considered "overstayed" - such ladies are already reluctant to marry. Whatfor men, everything is much simpler when it comes to age. Their task is to earn the respect of society, reach certain heights, and you can already ask for any young lady you like as a wife.

What if the family is against it?

It often happens that the relatives of the future bride are categorically against marriage. Previously, in such cases, men simply kidnapped their chosen one. After such a move, parents most often agree and bless the future couple. But even such an insidious plan has misfires, some parents, after the abduction of their beloved daughter, were even more angry and there was no question of consent to marriage. Literally 70 years ago, for such disagreement, the failed groom began to take revenge on the parents of his chosen one in a variety of ways, starting with minor dirty tricks and ending with arson and even murder! Fortunately, in the modern world, such an aggressive attitude towards refusal has come to naught, and such cases are becoming rarer and rarer. As you can see from the photo, the Abkhazian wedding is a very fun event. No crime and fatal passions!

dancing at the wedding

All the subtleties associated with the Abkhaz wedding

If the parents and the young lady have given their consent to marriage, you can proceed to betrothal. From time immemorial, it was not at all necessary for young people to exchange rings, most often these were some not so significant gizmos. Usually on the girl's side, it was something that she made with her own hands. For example, towels or handkerchiefs with national patterns. From the side of the future husband most oftengifts such as a horn or even a live doe were presented. Thus, the guy showed the relatives of his chosen one that he was a hunter and able to feed his family. Traditionally, before the celebration, a kind of “check” is sent to the house of the future spouse by the groom. The head of the delegation is always the oldest and most respected person. It may even be a neighbor, it is only important that, in terms of his position in society, he be on an equal footing with the groom's relatives. The purpose of such a “test” is to make sure that their daughter in the new family will be treated only with respect, kindness or care.

traditional costumes

What to do with guests?

Since ancient times, the parents of the newly-made bride should never have appeared at the celebration. This rule applied to both mother and father. Traditionally, about 7 people from the future wife went to the wedding. And even such a number of guests from the side of the bride was considered too large. And to this day, guests from the young side should behave as modestly as possible. As for the number of guests, traditionally about 200-300 people used to gather at the celebration, but now these numbers are much smaller, and the bride's parents have long been allowed to attend the event.

culture in Abkhazia

Menu for the holiday

The most important rule is as much food as possible. Her abundance at Abkhazian weddings is amazing. Many even note with regret that the number of dishes is often simply unnecessary. After the event, there is a lot of untouched food, which sometimes just has to be thrown away ordistribute to all relatives. But, as historians note, this was not the case before. Once upon a time there was a shortage of food, and everyone tried to help each other in every possible way. Traditional hot dishes are abysta and achash. They were prepared immediately and were always served only hot.

Bride and groom

At a modern Abkhazian wedding, traditionally the bride and groom, or just the bride, go out to the guests. Such a tradition appeared relatively recently, because it used to be considered a real shame if young people went out to everyone together, it was considered indecent. Even after the wedding, for a whole year, or even two, the newly-made husband and wife did not appear in front of their parents together. Luckily, this practice is now gone. At the wedding, a separate place was allocated for the young, the bride could be brought to the guests only if the host of the event made a toast to the newly-made spouses. The groom did not appear during the entire event at all.

wedding traditions

How is the holiday going?

A variety of artists, singers and dancers are necessarily invited to modern weddings. Previously, only the elders traditionally sang songs at the wedding, especially when the holiday was coming to an end. It is also an important custom to consider the duty of the elders to tell various parables about the deeds of the sages. If the event was held in the cold season, burning coals were brought out in the evening so that the guests would not disperse and have the opportunity to warm themselves, ethnologists say. Now, of course, there is no such rule. Leading the wedding alwaysthey invited and invite only the most respected person, in whom everyone was 100% sure that he would not violate the tradition of alternating toasts, this is extremely important at an Abkhazian wedding. No one talked about how many drinks to drink, it's all about respect.

All guests are required to treat each other with the utmost honor and respect. If one of those present left the holiday drunk, this is considered a disadvantage to the hosts. That is why time is pulled as much as possible. With the help of wise words, parables, stories from life, about the history of a family or locality. Young people should listen carefully to these stories, for them it is considered a great lesson. Now this tradition has been simplified a bit, in the first two hours a certain number of toasts should be made and that's it. Previously, the whole essence of the wedding was not in food and drinks, but in the word of the elders.

It was also customary for young people to abstain from alcohol altogether, especially while the elders were at the table. If one of the adults, respected people, notices that the young are drunk, it will be considered a great shame, first of all, for their relatives, and not for themselves.

traditional dances in Abkhazia


Of course, modern music sounds at weddings today, but no one forgets about national music either. And nowhere without performing traditional dances at an Abkhazian wedding! Of course, now technology makes it possible to turn on any music at any time, but before you had to accompany yourself with clapping, and everyone who could sing always did it. If aolder ones come out to dance, they were always given preference. The rule, when I want, then I dance does not work, this is considered bad education. At many weddings there was a distributor, one pair of dancers was replaced by another. Usually one couple dances, and another girl and a guy are already in line to change dancers. The choice of music and dances always falls on the shoulders of the toastmaster.

Abkhazian wedding rushed past, what's next?

The wedding is usually played at night, and on the second day the young people arranged horse races, and both men and women take part in them. The celebration can last from 7 to 14 days. After that, the newly-made spouse is brought to the "Big House", the so-called place where she will now live, where she is young and begins her duties as a wife. There is still a huge number of rituals and traditions, but they are all slowly fading into the past. However, some customs still distinguish the Abkhaz wedding from others.

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