USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Circassia’
Adulthood
Initiations
Life cycle
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Circassian Wedding Tradition

From the old days to now, the Circassian community has had no strict segregation rules between the sexes, therefore both sides have the freedom to choose their spouses. Usually, the young man, with a group of trusted friends, abducts his wife-to-be from her parents house on a set date and time. The bride needs to be taken to a trusted family where the groom can’t see her until the elders contact her family and get their approval to the marriage. This custom is acceptable between the Circassians because it’s based on the agreement between the young couple. The wife-to-be consents to this arrangement.

Background information: This is a tradition in the informant’s culture (Circassian culture).

Context: The informant told me about this tradition in a conversation about folklore.

Thoughts: This personally struck me as quite strange at first. I was confused about the “abduction” part of this tradition, since I thought that the woman in the scenario has no idea what’s going to happen. But upon being told that she has a role in this arrangement, and that she has consented to the process, I felt better about it. This seems to be a way of asking permission from her parents; it is merely a ritual to be performed before the wedding, and it is apparently a very common process among Circassian people.

general
Myths
Narrative

Satanai Flower

Lady Satanai saw a beautiful flower behind a forest in Kabardian. She wanted to plant this flower in front of her house, to let everyone see just how beautiful it was, so she brought it home. She planted the flower, but when tomorrow came, the flower had wilted, which made her very sad.

Later, she brought the same kind of flower, hoping it would not wilt like the other one, and planted it in her front garden. This flower also ended up wilting.

She again brought the same kind of flower, thinking that, this time, this flower wouldn’t die. But it also wilted! She began to regret taking these flowers from the forest, thinking she should have just left them alone. Suddenly, a storm came, and it began to rain heavily.
The next day, Lady Satani looked at the flower, and it had come back to life – the rainwater had revived the flower. She was overjoyed. From then on, humanity valued water’s benefits, calling water equal to the soul.
Background information: This is a Circassian story, told to her by her mom.
Context: The informant told me this story in a conversation about folklore
Thoughts: I thought this was a nice story, telling the importance of water to life. It also strikes me as a type of creation story – this is when the role of water on this planet is recognized. Perhaps this might even be the first instance of water.

 

folk metaphor
Folk speech

Circassian Metaphor

Someone asked a Circassian Elder, “Which is more important, to love, or to be loved?”

He replied, “Which wing is more important for the bird, the left wing or the right wing?”

Background information: This is a Circassian metaphor, or more broadly, folk speech. The informant heard it from her mother.

Context: The informant told me this metaphor in a conversation about folklore.

Thoughts: This is a nice little metaphor, comparing love and the wings of a bird. It shows how the importance of both loving and being loved goes hand-in-hand. They must coexist, and one is not necessarily more important than the other – they’re both equally important in this life.

[geolocation]