Customs and Traditions of Chechnya
The right way to treat women
Chechen mothers enjoy a special social status. The husband is no more than the head of a family but the woman has, from times immemorial, kept the fire, and the worst thing one Chechen can say to another is "I wish the fire went dead in your fireplace."
The Chechens have always held in the highest esteem those who keep the fire. The fire-keepers enjoy a very privileged position.
No one but a woman can break off a blood feud fight. A combat engagement may come to an end if a woman has showed up at the battlefield. A woman can stop bloodshed by baring her head and letting her headkerchief fall between the fighters. If your worst enemy touches with his hand the hem of a woman's dress, you have to lay down weapons: he is now protected by that woman. A man who was allowed to touch with his lips the breast of a woman, becomes the woman's adopted son. A woman who was determined to put an end to hostilities, sent out her children, with a mirror or a looking glass in their hands, to face the fighters. That put an end to the fighting.
A man should, in keeping with a western tradition, let a woman go first. In Chechnya, a man goes ahead of a woman. This tradition is rooted in the past. Very dangerous encounters - with a wild beast, a highway robber, a deadly enemy - might happen on the narrow mountain paths...It was only natural for a man to walk ahead of his female companion and be prepared to defend his wife and the mother of his children from any kind of peril.
It is customary to greet a woman standing. If an elderly woman passes by, a man, whatever his age, is to get up to his feet. He should be the first to utter words of greeting. Lack of respect for one's mother and her relatives disgraces a man. Respect of your wife's relatives is a merit that may earn you a place in paradise.
© 2007 Chechen Republic Online