Ossetian customs and traditions: origin, development and everyday habits

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Ossetian customs and traditions: origin, development and everyday habits
Ossetian customs and traditions: origin, development and everyday habits

Traditions and customs of the Ossetian people are closely intertwined with their culture. The spirit of freedom and noble motives is vividly expressed in holidays, prayers and rituals. The people are very fond of national values, including a sense of duty to the older generation and to the future.

History and origins

From the Georgian word "Osseti", which was formed from the stately Georgian people "Osi" or "Ovsi", the name of the region arose - Ossetia.

Representatives of the people are direct descendants of the Sarmatian tribe of the Alans.

In the Georgian chronicles, the Ovsi people were first mentioned in the 7th century AD. This is connected with the campaigns of the Scythians in Asia Minor. In the Middle Ages, the process of formation of Ossetians as a separate people took place. Alanya developed successfully until the XIV century. It was separated and led a policy and economy independent of the surrounding Caucasian states and peoples.

The Tatar-Mongols, who attacked Alania, made their adjustments in the development of the people. The forced retreat to the mountain gorges of the Central Caucasus gave rise to many smalland large tribal associations.

mountains of Ossetia
mountains of Ossetia

In 1774, Ossetia became part of the Russian Empire. In the 18th - 19th centuries, Ossetians began to move from the highlands to the plains. In the early 1990s, the North Ossetian Autonomous Region became the North Ossetian Autonomous SSR within the RSFSR. The Republic of North Ossetia became a subject of the Russian Federation in 1992. Meanwhile? people keep their Ossetian customs and traditions.

Children-Related Rules

With the advent of the child, Ossetians adhered to a whole system of beliefs. During pregnancy, the woman was protected and cared for. Invalid were:

  • hard work;
  • all sorts of unrest;
  • weight lifting.

The whole family treated the future mother with respect, moreover, the pregnant woman was under the protection of the older woman, and her husband's younger brothers and sisters hurried to the rescue.

With the onset of pregnancy, a woman with gifts and a cradle for a baby was returned to her native nest. She gave birth to her first child in the house of her parents - this continued until the 19th century. The daughter-in-law moved with her child to her husband under a noisy festival.

Both relatives and friends and fellow villagers came to congratulate the new addition to the family. Everyone was greeted and welcomed. The birth of a female baby was not so magnificent.

The hopes were pinned on the boy as the future:

  • warrior;
  • defender;
  • employee;
  • earner.

But most importantly, he was considered the successor of the clan and familyhonor.

Ossetian customs and traditions for children are very peculiar. When the baby was four days old, he was put in the cradle. It turned into a whole ceremony. Before putting him there, the woman who first bathed him immediately after birth bathes him this time as well. About this:

  • baked pies;
  • brewed a lot of beer;
  • slaughtered bulls and rams;
  • prepared various goodies.

Remarkably, the holiday was considered purely feminine.

After 10 days, the boy's parents arranged another holiday. On this day, the name of the child was given. The action was organized in the parents' house. The name of the child was chosen as follows:

  • the men present cast lots, for this the alchikh was used;
  • the oldest participated in the lot first, then the rest according to the principle of seniority;
  • the one who turned out to be alchih, stood in a certain position and announced the name of the baby.

In early July, families who had boys celebrated a holiday in honor of the appearance of future protectors and breadwinners.


According to Ossetian customs, a woman took care of children. The role of the main educator was usually assigned to the oldest woman (grandmother or mother-in-law). At the age of 10-12, everything changed dramatically for boys, they passed into the hands of men and from that moment were in the care of their brothers and father.

Ossetian family
Ossetian family

Ossetian's task is to bring up a real and brave man. A lot of different things were done with the boys:

  • games;
  • competitions;
  • fights.

All this tempered the body and will of a teenager. He became strong, agile and hardy.

Physical education included without fail:

  • shooting at the target;
  • stone throwing;
  • freestyle wrestling;
  • weight lifting;
  • tug of war;
  • running;
  • fencing on checkers and daggers.

Fathers told their sons about the exploits and noble deeds of their forefathers, instilling folk and family values in future men.

Girls were brought up differently. Their attitude was stricter. As babies, girls were taught:

  • embroider;
  • sew;
  • cut;
  • cook;
  • weave;
  • clean up.

Already at the age of 7, a girl could take care of a baby. At 10, she was able to draw water from the river, and carried out various tasks for older women. At the age of 15-16, the girl was completely ready to run the household on her own.

Ossetians at work
Ossetians at work

The gentle creature's morality came first. For an Ossetian woman, the following were necessary:

  • strict observance of customs;
  • modesty;
  • obedience to elders, later to husband;
  • patience.

Lowering beautiful eyes down, Ossetian girls do not lower their shoulders and can boast of a proud posture and diligence.


Ossetian traditions and customs are strictly observed from generation to generation. By law, no oneand under no circumstances dares to offend the guest. If this happened (which was a great rarity), the whole village gathered to try the guilty, a sentence was passed, the guilty legs and hands were tied and thrown from a cliff into the river.

The owner protects the guest and he will die sooner than give out the one who knocked on the house if necessary. Ossetians are generous and honor those who crossed the threshold of their house. They greet the guest with these words: “My house is your house; I and all mine are yours!”

If the guest stays overnight, the host must slaughter the ram, even if he currently has fresh meat.

No one will dare to refuse a person who has knocked on the door. The law of hospitality for Ossetians is holy. If the owner received an unknown person in his house, and then found out that he is his blood enemy who needs revenge, in which case the owner cordially treats the visitor and will definitely shelter him.

Respect for a woman

Ossetian traditions and customs are distinguished by deep reverence for women.

For example, according to Ossetian etiquette, a rider, seeing a woman, must get off the horse before he catches up with the traveler, and let her past him, and only then continue on his way.

If a woman passes by seated men, everyone stands up to greet them.

At the sight of an old man, the entire sitting crowd rises to their feet, and even more so at the sight of an old woman, everyone is obliged to stand up. No matter how drunk the men having fun at the festival are, no matter how impudently the tipsy young people behave, even with a strong and cruel quarrel between the fighting, the appearance of a woman will tamegrumblers, brawlers and stop the fight.

beauty of Ossetians
beauty of Ossetians

A woman's personality is considered inviolable:

  • for her labor services in the family;
  • due to weak nature;
  • due to social disadvantage.

If the weaker sex needs any help, then the man will chivalrously help her in everything.

Respect for elders and customs of ancestors

According to the traditions of the Ossetian people, the oath of the ancestors was sacred. Those who broke the oath were punished with a cruel death.

In family life, Ossetians show deep respect for the elderly. When an old man appears, everyone stands up, even if the old man is of lower birth.

The younger brother will always listen to the older one. Colonels, officers from Ossetians will definitely get up and give way if an elderly and simple shepherd enters the house.

Housing of Ossetians

Ossetian houses are called saklya. They were built close to each other and so that one building was located above the other. The roof of the lower buildings serves as a courtyard for the upper ones. The sacks were built in two tiers. The lower floor was used for farming and livestock housing. The top floor is for family housing.

The roof of such a dwelling was flat and served:

  • for drying grain;
  • as a surface for threshing bread;
  • for felting wool;
  • dance floor during the holidays.

The floors in the sakla are earthen. She herself was divided into several rooms. The main room was called Khdzar. There was a fire burning here. And today most of the life of the family passeshere:

  • food is being prepared;
  • meal is being shared;
  • wives darn and sew;
  • make household utensils.
Ossetian houses
Ossetian houses

Guests always pay attention to the hearth. According to Ossetian customs and traditions, it is located in the center of Khdzar. Above the hearth hangs an iron chain, which is attached to a crossbar along with a cauldron used for cooking.

Khdzar is divided into two parts along the hearth line. One is female, the other is male. There is more furniture on the men's side. Neither women nor men have the right to enter the other side. They mostly gathered near the hearth to chat and warm up, or at a round table on three legs.

Chain over hearth

One touch to her consecrated all the events of the family. It was sacrilege to touch the chain for no reason. Children were severely punished for this. Only the elder in the house was allowed to touch this attribute. Usually this happened when walking around the hearth fire during a wedding or when instructing on a journey. According to Ossetian traditions and customs, anyone who approached the chain and touched it became close to the family, even if it was a sworn enemy.

The newlyweds could not sleep in the house where such a chain hung, and any swearing or quarrel was also prohibited.

This chain is sacred, the most cruel insult is the insult to this attribute. Throwing her out of the house is considered a deadly insult to the owner.

Twinning and friendship

Twinning is highly honored in Ossetian customs and traditions. This rite could bevarious:

  • weapons exchange;
  • drinking from the same cup with the addition of the blood of those entering into an alliance;
  • swearing in sacred places.

Sometimes such bonds were valued more than kindred ones. Brothers have always come to help each other both financially and morally.

Ossetian men
Ossetian men


Industrious Ossetians in the past followed this custom, which included help:

  • widows;
  • orphans;
  • sick;
  • old.

Ignoring kinship and personal interests, Ossetians helped anyone who really needed support. During Ziu, young people helped mow grass for livestock, women took bread from the meager fields of the needy.

cow in the Ossetian farm
cow in the Ossetian farm

Help came in different forms:

  • pies;
  • grain;
  • labor;
  • building materials;
  • firewood.

Mutual assistance for these people has always been in the first place. Ossetian folk traditions emphasize the high appreciation of the moral qualities of a person.

Nog Az - New Year

Preparation begins long before the holiday itself. Gifts for relatives and friends are chosen. Many drinks are put on the table - from fruit drinks and compotes to stronger ones, as well as a large number of national dishes. Be sure to have three pies on the table, symbolizing the sun, water and earth. Children decorate the Christmas tree and run around it.

As well as all over the world, representatives of this freedom-loving people celebrate the New Year on January 1 according to Ossetian customs. howcelebrated before, so in general they celebrate now - in the family circle. Invite friends and neighbors to have fun.

The Senior Table prays that all the bad things remain in the old year, and all the good things pass into the New Year.

Ossetian feasts
Ossetian feasts

At midnight, the elder prays again and asks for blessings on the New Year, then entrusts the family and those sitting next to the will of the Almighty and his saints. The celebration lasts until the morning with dancing, toasting and fun.

The breadth of the soul of the Caucasian people is striking and inspiring. After all, it was not in vain that the classics sang these people in their works. Many could learn the customs of the Ossetian people. It is difficult to talk about them briefly, because they are so beautiful and noble.