Main source – “The Chechens” HERE (pdf format)
get it on Amazon The Chechens: A Handbook
The Chechens are an ethnic group of the Nakh people; the Nakh (Chechen, Ingush and Kist) belong to the Northeast Caucasian family.
The Chechen population counts 1.500.000 people; up to 500.000 were displaced to Europe after the second war (in Germany, France, Scandinavia, Poland, Belgium).
Chechens refer to themselves as “Noxchi”.
Chechen society is divided on sexes (conservative Muslim society). Men are seen as sole bread winners in the family household, while women’s main duty is to become a good wife and mother. Women may have a job but the job must not involve socialization with other men.
1870 Chechen woman – traditional Chechen headscarf/ veil was simple, made of cotton. The main materials used were woolen fabrics and animal skin. More sophisticated fabricss appeared after year 1900.
Up until XIX century, traditional Chechen costumes were different but all traditional dress across the Caucasus kept a general resemblance. Modern Chechen dress was heavily influenced by Circassian costumes in the XIX century.
Customs originate in most ancient times. They define “checheness”, very important in the identity of proud Chechens. Society was not stratified and had no social classes, instead it was organized in tribes. Therefore the code of Chechen morals were the backbone of Chechen society.
Women were considered for marriage from mid to late teens, whereas men started married later. Men and women met at dance parties and communication was made through family members.
It was taboo for men to touch women in public (this remains available to this day). Touching a woman meant defilement and the culprit was executed by the family of the woman. The culprit could escape punishment by suckling on the breast of the woman’s mother, making him a foster brother.
Wedding is the way of celebration for the new family acquisition. Only the groom’s family celebrates, while the bride and her family stay away from main wedding ceremonies. The bride’s family is considered to have no reason for celebration since they “lose” a member.
Chechens consider pride and affection as weakness, and do not openly show joy at the birth of children or show affection in public towards partner or children.
Chechens only marry within their own ethnic group. Chechen women are held in high esteem, however if a woman is raped, she will be considered tainted and no one will marry her. Although during the Soviet period, mixed Russian-Chechen couples were common (between Russian women and Chechen men, never the opposite), the fact that one may be ethnically mixed (especially with Russian) is frowned upon and hidden.
Chechen wedding – the bride and groom make their vows separately. While the groom celebrates at home with his friends, the bride arrives at the main party but doesnt participate. She sits aside quietly in what translates as “modesty” in Chechen customs.
*Numerous youtube videos show sumptuous Chechen weddings – they belong to Chechen president Kadyrov’s circles. Regular Chechens are modest.
At social or family gatherings (parties, dinners, weddings etc), men and women never sit together, but at separate tables.
Though women are held in high esteem, they must show a certain respect to men. Women always stand up when a man walks in, and they never speak over a man.
“Secular” women are becoming more ad more Islamic in their customs and dressing. While the Chechen leader Kadyrov is allegedly forcing certain women to wear Hijab, more and more young people are willingly adopting it was a way of life, as Sunni Islam is seducing the youth (as opposed to Sufi Islam, practiced by old people).