Culture Wars: Chechnya Against European-Style Weddings

Western custom is to shove cake in bride’s mouth

I saw this piece  today.  The authorities in the Chechen Republic, which can be considered a conservative and traditionalist Muslim-based government, have made a decision to push back against the growing tendency of young people to celebrate European-style weddings.

The Department of Culture in Grozny has gone so far, as to conduct raids on wedding palaces.  A Department spokesperson was quoted as saying:  “People have started to borrow certain customs from other cultures.  For example, the “bride’s dance”,  the cutting of the cake, the entry of several pairs into the dance.  One is also not impressed by the exterior appearances of the guests.  Many young men and girls are dressing inappropriately for their religious and national identities.”

The Department is currently working out new guidelines as to how people should conduct themselves at weddings.

Goes on to say, that the raids of the wedding palaces have been occurring for a couple of weeks now.  The following guidelines have already been published in Grozny:

  • Nobody allowed to show up at a wedding while intoxicated.
  • Prohibition of wearing inappropriate clothing, which does not suit the “Chechen mentality”.
  • Certain verbal expressions are prohibited.
  • Certain body motions (for example, acrobatic contortions) are forbidden.
  • Shooting from guns [into the air] is prohibited.
  • The “dance of the bride” is forbidden.
  • Cutting of the wedding cake is forbidden.
  • Entry of several pairs of dancers, all at the same time is prohibited.
  • Young men should not switch partners during the wedding dance.

(and so on, most of the rules involving dance.)

If people break the rules, then the police will be summoned.

In addition, the Head of State, Ramzan Kadyrov, has asked the owners of wedding salons to forbid a certain style of (too sexy) bride dress.

“In recent times, it has become fashionable among brides to wear a certain type of European dress which is too open.  [???]  This is incorrect, and has nothing in common with Chechen culture.  It is necessary to do everything possible to preserve national traditions and customs,” Kadyrov stated.

He also called upon the wedding salons to provide national wedding costumes for sale.

Chechen bride in national costume

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7 Responses to Culture Wars: Chechnya Against European-Style Weddings

  1. Jen says:

    I guess this is the kind of dancing the authorities want to encourage with lots of fancy footwork by both guys and girls. Watch the women dance in stiletto heels and stacked platform shoes without falling over!

    One issue though is that when authorities become too prescriptive about what can or can’t be allowed at weddings, the fun goes out of them and both Chechen and imported wedding customs end up being stifled and die out. Plus many Chechens will start to question Ramzan Kadyrov’s legitimacy as their leader if they perceive that his government is making endless rules that have no logic to them and force Chechen culture into an unnatural state of preservation. Culture is really only vital when it’s allowed to change and adapt to new circumstances, and adopting other customs that fit into one’s own culture and enhance it (and not corrupt it) can be part of that change.


  2. Kate says:

    I haven’t heard about any wedding raids. Could you send me your sources on this? Also, that last photo is not a proper representation of a traditional Chechen wedding dress. Traditional wedding dresses resemble their national dress, but completely white with the only scarf/shawl being a hijab, depending on religious principles.


    • yalensis says:

      Dear Kate,
      Sorry if I got it wrong about the wedding dress. Can you post a picture of what it is supposed to look like?


      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – the “raid thing” comes from the VZGLIAD piece itself which I translated from Russian into English.


      • Kate says:

        Thank you! I’m really interested in reading up on this! It is simply mind-blowing that officers would actually raid a wedding! Weddings are suppose to be fun! Not monitored!

        I cannot figure out how to attach a photo to this comment (I’m on an iPad), so here is a link to Abdullah Bersaev’s Instagram photo of traditional wedding attire. Notice how they are posing alone, without any crowd. This is just a photo and not the actual wedding. Grooms do not attend their own weddings and brides must sit in sadness while guests entertain themselves. (So it’s understandable why they would want to tweak the wedding customs a bit!)

        Thank you again for the link and bringing this to attention!


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