Hospitality in Chechen Culture
A legend says that the ancestor of all Chechens – Nokhchuo – was born with a piece of iron in one hand and a piece of cheese in the other. “Grace seldom rests on places unfrequented by guests,” “a guest brings joy,””the longer the guest’s way to your house, the more respect you owe him…” Many sayings, legends and fables focus on the sacred law of hospitality.
The villagers are most hospitable. Every coutryside family has a special guest room that is always kept clean, with clean bed linen, in a word, ready for a visitor. No one makes use of this room. Even the children are forbidden to play or do anything else in this room. Every family must be ever ready to serve the guest a meal. Chechens used to set aside a special stock of food supplies for this purpose.
No questions are to be asked of a guest in the first three days of his visit… He is considered a privileged member of the family. In the olden day, the daughter or daughter-in-law of the head of the family would even help him to take off his shoes and overcoat. The guest enjoys the warmest reception at meal times. A Chechen must risk his own life to protect the life, honor and property of his guest. This is one of the basic rules of Chechen hospitality.
The Chechen code of conduct says guests should offer no payment to the family they stayed with. A guest may only make a present to the children of that family.
The ancient rules of hospitality were obeyed regardless of circumstances. Any good man, regardless of his ethnic roots, merited a warm reception.
There is a direct connection between hospitality and greetings. To greet someone, Chechens open up their arms, that is bare their heart for us to see that they neither hide mean intentions nor plan any evil.