A Caucasian wedding party. Photo: Rafael Alibegov, http://mykavkaz.ru/photos/active/photo6798.html

10 August 2018, 14:24

Anthropologists: tradition of shooting at Caucasian wedding parties turns into epatage

A ritual of shooting at a Caucasian wedding party was considered to be "a kind of a symbol for protection against the evil eye," but the ancient tradition had long turned into an element of fun and courage, noted experts on the Caucasus. The tradition of saluting takes part not only at wedding parties. Meanwhile, if the ritual is perceived calmly in Chechnya and Dagestan, in other regions it often leads to conflicts.

The first data on the use of firearms at various events in the Caucasus date from the 16th century, when the first firearms  cannons came from Europe, historian Sergey Arutyunov noted.

In the 19th century, due to the dissemination of small arms in Russia, various types of guns appeared in the Caucasus and saluting with shots became a custom.

"There were also salutes at a funeral ceremony, if a military or police officer was buried. Or after a plentiful feast. There is also a ritual of shooting after a divorce," said Sergey Arutyunov.

The historian does not consider the tradition dangerous if guns are used in an accurate way. In relatively large Caucasian cities, like Makhachkala or Grozny, saluting is a rare case, assures Sergey Arutyunov.

"This can be explained by the fact that the cities are primarily populated by educated people, who stay away from traditions," Sergey Arutyunov commented.

In his turn, Akhmet Yarlykapov has noted that the ritual of shooting at a wedding party is considered to be a symbol for protection against the evil eye. Today, some of the Caucasian young people open fire not because of the ritual, but for courage.

According to Akhmet Yarlykapov, the custom should not be introduced in Moscow.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 10, 2018 at 10:03 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Oleg Krasnov; Source: CK correspondent

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