Argun district

The Argun district, in its real administrative look, borders to the North on Chechnya and Galgay societies, to the South – on Ichkeria and Andiya, to the East – with Chechnya, the western party it adjoins to Tushetiya and society Malkhisti. The size of the Argun district still is not determined yet, but, by the territory occupied by it, it is one of big military and national districts of the Tersky region. The number of its inhabitants, according to the last cameral sheet made in 1866 reaches 25 thousand souls of both sexes. All population of this district distributed on 200 auls Chechen also tells origins one language with the population of Chechnya. Society Cheberla though speaks the same language, but it is visible that language this not its native language but only acquired by it, owing to the frequent intercourses and related communications, from other branches of the Chechen tribe.

Chaberloy people have a belief that they are origins of Russian; they speak about it reluctantly and even hide the legend attributing them a Slavic origin; but in any case the fact that society it, by origin, is absolutely other than other tribes inhabiting the Argun district what as the proof is served character, features of cheberloy people and at last the Chechen language which they speak as foreigners is undoubted.

Without pressing further in historical researches about degree of reliability of the mentioned legend of cheberloy people about their Russian origin. it is possible to accept however it as more or less plausible hypothesis, especially if we remember that, since times of specific system in ancient Russia, the Caucasus always served as a bait not only for the Russian outlaws and the adventurers living on state suburbs but also the whole teams, going to this region, did not come back more. It is the fact confirmed by history.

Anyway, but it seems to me that in Cheberloy, in some surnames, and now it is possible to distinguish still Slavic type in spite of the fact that the tribe it degenerated, mixed up with Andi, Chechens etc.

Other tribes inhabiting the Argun district are considered as us all origins identical, i.e. Chechen therefore it is probable that they tell the same language with Chechnya. That the most part of tribes of the Argunsky district and tribes inhabiting Chechnya same – it is indisputable, but absolutely wrong opinion attributing to all people Chechen and to tribes this unity, an origin community, meanwhile as each tribe (tayp), actually, considers itself origins mostly of various. So, for example, the surname Zumsa considers itself origins Georgian, Kela – Tushino, by Akhshipata – firengi, i.e. European; ancestors of Varandoy are natives of Hevsuretiya. Many surnames consider themselves origins Greek etc. From all this clearly it is visible that to the Chechen people of a community of an origin – as we do it – it is impossible to attribute how and that the links connecting all those tribes or surnames (tayp) of which it consists it is belief, language, identical historical destiny and absolutely identical interests and beliefs.

Each surname is in turn subdivided into several separate knees or childbirth (гар).

There are no class castes here at all though some surnames and are considered origins of the highest, than others; so, for example, the surname Akhshipata which came before others to the plane of Chechnya and collecting once a tax for this earth admits for aristocratic.

Dominating and, it is necessary to add, the only belief here – Muslim, Sunni sect. Chechens were never Christians. Meanwhile it is impossible to tell the same about some it is captivated the Argun district, next to galgays, such as society Akki.

Galgays were Christians in very recent time just as also Kabardians who if to trust words of genoese Interiano visiting this edge in half of the XVI century had Greek priests. The Christianity far before this time so in XI and XII centuries it existed in Kabarda, supported by efforts of the Russian princes reigning in Tmutarakani was installed there. At Ioann Vasilyevich Terrible, the ambassador of conquest of a kingdom by him Astrakhan, i.e. in 1555, the Christian belief already only dominated in Kabarda, and only at the end of this century, efforts of the Crimean khans, and then the Turk, Kabardians began to address Islam little by little. The address it was made by that easier that the best princely surnames did not cease to practise the doctrine of Islam which is taken out by their ancestors from Egypt.

Owing to all this galgayevets, then still idolaters, it is necessary have to were to submit to influence of Kabardians and closest neighbors, the Ossetian, at that time too Christians, and to accept belief which was professed by these two people. Georgia also in turn could influence strongly in this case galgayevets especially as, starting with Tamara who subordinated to the dominion the most part of mountain tribes tsars Georgian in every way tried to extend between them Christianity. It must be assumed that the Christian belief in galgays and kistins societies deeply at that time took the root: as the best proof to it serve ancient temples, being in their societies and from which some on the architecture quite deserve attention. The Christianity between these tribes disappeared subsequently, but beliefs, and sometimes and ceremonies of this religion, though unconsciously, still are still honored: whether Christian it beliefs – the people cannot tell; he is even convinced in opposite, but nevertheless honors them succession, according to the legend. And it, more than existence of temples, proves how the Christian belief in these people was once strong.

The Akki society close to society of galgays and to kistins as on geographical position, is so equal and on unity of an origin, also was once probably society Christian though beliefs of this religion can already hardly be found at akkian now. It and is clear: akka society is measured only in 1858, and therefore oppression of Muslim imams and in particular the Supreme censorship of Shamil which was checking not only acts, but also the views and watching purity of Islam so strictly that any manifestation of the idea opposite to its doctrines was punished ruthlessly by death – all this could not but be reflected in akkian and not erase at them any traces of Christian beliefs and monuments.

Religious practices of local mountaineers it is general, therefore, with ceremonies of other Muslims. Here it is impossible to meet what exists at those tribes mountain at which the Moslem was installed recently so at them through beliefs of Islamism pagan look through still ideas. At those religious practices receive often the special print. So, for example, at some tribes trans-kuban, at a funeral ceremony, the ancient pagan customs and rules ordered by the Koran absolutely mix up also an element pagan even prevails over these last. At Chechens of similar customs at execution of religious practices it is impossible to meet; brought up at school of the mullah Magomet, Kazi-mully and Shamil, they took out from it if not purity of the doctrine and its spirit, then, at least, strict following to its external ceremonies.

If and at their ceremonies meet sometimes various usage, it is not strict, apparently, religions, concordant with the instruction, then actually they do not contradict spirit of this religion, and the basis have a folk custom. However, that, sorting attentively customs of Chechens, and it is also possible to find in them ideas pagan, but similar ideas meet in religion and customs of each people, even Christians; it is worth remembering wedding ceremonies of some districts of Russia, without telling already about various customs purely pagan, such as – a twisting of wreaths, night of Ivanov day, Maslenitsa and so forth, extended at us it is universal.

At mountaineers, as well as in general at all Muslims, ceremonies marriage and funeral – main, and therefore I will try to describe them in detail.

At them just as at Europeans, marriages consist either on passion or by calculation. But as the girl, behind very rare exception, for herself does not bring a dowry any, ordinary try to choose to themselves the bride from a strong surname or strong and honourable family: this circumstance at the choice of the bride costs always in the forefront; beauty and its qualities – business already minor. Having conceived courtship and having received on this consent of relatives of the bride, the groom does already the offer formal: two or three honourable persons, ordinary the groom’s relatives get out, and go to the girl’s father. If he agrees – he is given bridewealth or part of bridewealth, and business is considered ended. The groom has the right to withdraw the word-; but neither the bride, nor her relatives, on receipt of bridewealth, have already no right to refuse the promise, without causing these offenses to the groom. If the girl, matchmade for one, marries another, then it is necessary attracts revenge on her relatives and such incident seldom does not terminate in blood.

Matchmade the girl, the groom makes gifts to her father, grandfather or uncle – to any of the main and her immediate family; the weapon, a horse, a piece of silk matter and so forth is given ordinary. Time of a wedding depends on a consent of both parties and can be postponed for term uncertain. In all this time the groom has the right the bride to visit, trying not to meet her father and mother only. In four days prior to a wedding, the bride is carried to the house of relatives of the groom. Ordinary send behind it, on a bullock cart, some old woman, with a glib and sharp tongue, and with it together the person twenty – thirty youth, any fans of scandals and rough scenes. All this crowd, near the house of the bride, meets shout and abuse of boys, stones and shots; but, despite it, laughing the matter off and being protected by everyone as will manage, sent approach her house. At doors of its room they, ordinary, meet one of the girl’s relatives who at their approach locks a door and demands a gift. It is given a dagger – and the treasured door is opened. But there they are met by other obstacle: instead of a male Cerberus, in the room of the bride expects their great number of female Cerberuses: it are relatives and the bride’s girlfriends gathering to it some days before a wedding to make together its dowry and wedding gifts, somehow: bands, lace, pistol covers and other inexpensive bagatelles. Women meet sent for the bride truly in a feminine way – needles, pins, scissors, Circassians and undertunics tear to them, take away caps so a half of them leaves the room without sleeves and without one or both tails of the dress. When made a noise enough, sent for the bride are treated, and the train together with it started in a way back, he is seen off again by stones of boys and gun volleys of adults.

Three days celebrate a wedding in the house of one of the groom’s relatives. But he in all this time leaves the house and has no right to be shown to neither the bride, nor guests for whom care already senior of his relatives. For the fourth day the wedding ceremony is made.

The mullah, with two witnesses, goes at first to the room of the bride and, having sent all, except for one or two little girls from there, asks it: whether “she wishes to marry for it, the son such and so much bridewealth”? after her affirmative answer, it goes to the father of the girl and asks it: whether “he wishes to give the daughter to it and for so much bridewealth”? After that it goes to the groom and, having taken him by hand, in the same way does similar questions and to it, strictly observing that except two witnesses none of his foreign answers heard: I will mention an origin of this last usage, speaking about superstition of mountaineers. After reading of a prayer marriage is considered the prisoner.

Having married, the woman, at first after a wedding, has no right neither to see, nor to speak with the husband not only in the presence of strangers, but even relatives. If the husband is at it in the evening, then he tries that nobody noticed it; otherwise it is exposed to various jokes and sneers and on it look as at the person who is not respecting the law of the ancestors. Requirements of similar custom go to Kabarde still further. There it is possible to meet people who, being twenty or thirty years are married, never entered and did not leave the room of the wife so that someone could notice it. To speak to the young woman, in the first days of the marriage, with the father of the husband or the senior relatives – the Chechen custom also does not permit. Them it executes all orders silently. To see the mother and she can go to her to the house not before, as after several months.

Here and all wedding ceremony at mountaineers of local societies and in general the whole Chechen people. It is possible to add to it only one more custom dominating between them it is universal, but value and which origin meanwhile none of them can explain. This custom demands that after five-six days after a wedding newly married, having taken a big cup of pancakes and a jug, accompanied by the whole crowd of women, with songs and music, went to the river and there threw, one on one, any pieces of pancakes into water, having punctured previously each of them with a needle or a pin. After that, having scooped in a water jug, it see off again back home. Since the same time she becomes quite female hostess and acquires the right, on an equal basis with other women, to go to the river behind water; till same day it does not leave the room and is shown to nobody.

I told about a ceremony of wedding, the bride who is made in a consent of relatives to the offer her marrying off. Often it happens so that the young man, having been refused or not hoping that his courtship will be accepted, persuades previously the girl, steals her by force: at least, the girl always shows that she is taken away violently. He takes away it to itself(himself) to the house, or runs with it to other auls and then already sends bridewealth to the bride’s relatives and asks them about reconciliation. As the consent to marriage for them remains the only reasonable means to smooth down a spot which is necessary the consent always falls on the girl if she was returned back by the thief, then, ordinary, and it is given. In the same cases when the girl’s father, or that from relatives on whom she depends does not want to express the consent to her marriage, resort to the qadi, or the senior mullah which, under the law, replacing with itself the bride’s father, this marriage also allows it. Without prior consent of the girl of similar stealing never now becomes. In former time, to Kazi-Magoma and Shamil, they however a rarity were not: the power of the people standing in the head of the people then was too powerless to punish the thief, so if relatives of the kidnapped girl were not able to revenge her shame, then it remained unpunished. In the most part of cases similar feats of a horsemanship always terminated in blood.

Owing to former conditions of life of mountaineers, predatoriness deeply took root to their customs and customs, and therefore very often happens and so that the groom instead of taking matchmade already to them the girl from the house of her relatives a usual, established order, steals her secretly, with the consent of her relatives. In former time two thirds of weddings, both in Chechnya, and in local societies, were made by such order: was considered conscientious and unworthy the man and the decent person to take itself the wife in other way.

In mountain societies of the Chechen tribe, before submission to their Russian government, the usage was very strongly developed – to matchmaker the daughters in the early childhood; this custom dominated partly in Chechnya, though to a lesser extent. Between the tribes which were a part of the real districts of Argun and Ingushs it was accepted however everywhere. As proof of future bridewealth the bullet, газырь Circassians, or several abazes of money was given, – and business was considered as solved. The usage it, extremely harmful, is absolutely destroyed now.

As for to a funeral ceremony of Chechens, it is difficult even less, than a ceremony marriage, and is alien all those rules and wont which are brought by custom at wedding ceremonies.

When relatives of the patient see that there comes the last hour him, send for the mullah who begins to say over it a prayer (Yaseen – waste Christians). Women, in expression of the grief, loudly cry, beat breast, scratch the person nails and tear hair. As soon as the patient died – they are deleted immediately, or force to be silent by force as similar expression of grief is absolutely opposite to spirit of Moslem doctrine. All leave from the room of the dead and the mullah with the mutaalima begins to prepare a body for burial. He puts it on a pure oak board or a bench, purposely for this purpose save in big mosques, takes a jug of water and washes a body. Then takes a piece of a cloth, or a white cotton, and wraps in it a corpse; after that it wraps it in other piece of the same matter and then in the third. Having torn off two rather narrow strips from this shroud, he them ties a shroud over the head of the dead and below his legs. I forgot to mention that in a mouth, eyes and ears of the dead cotton wool is put, ordinary. Prepared thus for burial, the body is left on a bed, and relatives and acquaintances of the dead quietly mourn it. Then, ordinary, one of the present women gets up and begins to sing a gravestone song. However, it is not actually a song, and it is rather a lamentation which and at us widely used in the lowest class of the people. The weeper calculates, mostly, the dignity of the dead, his quality and complains why he left the family and children. “You left us, and all of us so loved you! You went from us to a better world where there is neither grief, nor a grief, and only one pleasures. But who will take care, of your family and children? who will feed them, who will protect them from the angry person?” So in the most part of cases she speaks. Sometimes it calculates various incidents from life of the dead and in general the sense of its lamentation will be conformed with circumstances of his former life and position which it held in the people. When one woman ends – another begins, then the third etc.

In all the time of this gravestone speech attendees keep the deep silence broken only by groans and their sobbing. But as Muslims bury the dead in the day of their death, this sad scene proceeds, ordinary, not for long. The body is put on a bullock cart and carried on a cemetery. Many Chechen surnames have the patrimonial cemeteries, and therefore carry the dead sometimes for several tens versts. If other any cemetery, the mullah meets on the way and all present stop and say a prayer for all in general the dead (a do gift), and all raise hands at this time and several seconds turned by a palm to the person hold them. Approach, at last, a patrimonial cemetery of the dead; there the grave is already ready also two or three persons, carefully, together with a blanket on which the body is necessary, lift it and quietly lower in a grave where it is accepted by the mullah; he unties bands of a shroud and puts the dead on the right side, turning the head towards the West. The body becomes covered by an oak board which is approved over it obliquely to legs of the dead. After that, having filled up a grave with the earth, the mullah and present pray and then, except for the mullah, all move away from it on quite long distance, so, that about it there is only one mullah. Then he takes the jug prepared in advance with water, again says a prayer (zaa) and three times water from a jug a grave, in the heads of the dead. Having executed it, it immediately quickly departs from it. On a belief of Muslims, or as mullahs assure, according to the legend of their sacred books, at that time when the water poured on a grave touches a body of the dead, he comes to life and asks attendees: “why they leave its one?” Mountaineers believe that the one who will hear this voice becomes forever a deaf. Owing to that similar belief they also depart from a grave on such distance that it was impossible to hear neither words, nor a voice of the dead person. When a funeral is over and all left – the mullah sends to a grave of one of the mutaalim and that three days and three nights reads the Koran there. Sometimes reading, instead of a grave, is made in the house of the dead. Separate commemoration on deceased at Chechens never becomes, but every Friday, each a little prosperous family prepares pancakes and carries them to the mosque, for distribution present in memory of all the dead there. The custom of mountaineers demands that all relatives, friends of the dead, or his acquaintances, came to it to the house for the statement of the regrets before members of its family. This custom is executed very strictly, – and on death of the person dear, to his family there come with consolations and complaint people, is frequent even unfamiliar.

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