May 4, 2022
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Traditions of the Lezgi people

Lezginka is an incendiary dance that everyone knows, and this is perhaps the only thing that most of us know about the traditions of the Lezgin people. But Lezgi traditions and rituals are original and very interesting. Anyone who knows them in more detail will definitely want to visit the Republic of Dagestan or Northern Azerbaijan, where representatives of this nationality live, in order to see their holidays and rituals with their own eyes.

Traditions of the Lezgi people

traces of paganism

At the moment, the main religion of the Lezgins is Islam, but this has only recently become so. Previously, the Lezgi people adhered to pagan traditions for many centuries in a row. They left a significant imprint on the culture and found their reflection in some of the customs that have survived to this day.


Cattle breeding has long been the main occupation of the representatives of this nationality, cattle were kept in each family, and the more cows, goats, bulls, etc. were in the yard, the richer the family became. Therefore, animal health was a defining moment for welfare. To keep it on top, it was necessary to appease the gods.

Before slaughtering a bull, it was necessary to circle the animal around the house in the dark. It is advisable not to meet people at this moment. After the carcass was butchered, the best pieces were given to neighbors. It was believed that after this, diseases would bypass the barnyard.

But goats were not allowed to be sacrificed. The gods would not be happy with such a gift, but would only get angry with people. This disgrace is connected with the fact that the goats, according to the Lezgins, have cold lips.

bull sacrifice


Physicians know the healing properties of rock salt, but even before people used it in order to alleviate the plight of the sick. For example, in the traditions of the Lezgi people there is an unusual ritual – to pour salt on the patient’s head. True, at the same time, the hope was not for the real properties of this natural substance, but for its ability to remove damage and the evil eye.

Ordinary kitchen salt would not work for this. She was preliminarily prepared in a special way: prayers were read over her for a long time, then they were calcined on fire, and only then poured onto her head. It was believed that the one who put a curse on the patient would feel bad after such a ritual. Troubles and misfortunes will fall on this person, and after death the offender will go to hell.

Protection from otherworldly forces

Many traditions and customs of the Lezgins are associated with amulets. This people have a strong belief that they can protect from evil spirits and otherworldly forces.

Protecting your home is very important. In order to always be comfortable in the new home and avoid troubles, during the housewarming it was necessary to hang dishes on the walls. The richer this dish, the higher will be the well-being of the family.

Another defender of the house from otherworldly forces is thorny houseplants. The unclean are drawn to the windows, and there they will prick themselves with thorns, after which they will quickly disappear from the house. The thorns do not have to be flowers on the windowsill, dried thistles were often hung right on the walls and under the ceiling. Even now, Lezgins often attach such amulets in the form of key rings to the rear-view mirror in cars. They protect the driver from accidents and unclean forces in the form of traffic police officers fining for violations.

In addition to thorny plants, stones of unusual shape and color, bizarre branches, horns of large animals, knives, sabers and other piercing and cutting objects can protect the dwelling from evil spirits.

Holy places

In paganism, animate and inanimate nature was of particular importance, therefore the Lezgins had interesting traditions associated with places of power. They were located near trees with an unusual shape or near huge single stones. Such places were shrines, and they were called “lezgi pirar”. Most often they were located near flowing reservoirs or in mountain gorges.

Holy places of the Lezgins

In such places, strength is gained, sacrifices are made there, they seek protection and pray for good luck. In addition to gifts, they hang pieces of cloth from their clothes there. If you want to ask for a loved one, then you need to tie a piece of his clothes to a branch.


A whole layer of customs and traditions of the Lezgi people is associated with the wedding.


The betrothal often took place even at the moment when the bride and groom were lying in cradles. Of course, parents assessed the well-being of another family, their reputation. Everyone wanted to connect the life of a child with a respected family. It is best if the matchmakers are relatives. The custom of marrying representatives of the same clan ceased only after the revolution.

Sometimes matchmaking took place even before the children were born. For example, if two families failed to have children, women went to the holy place described above and promised there that they would marry their heirs if they were born of different sexes.

Another common tradition was that the groom would steal the bride. If the relatives knew that the young woman herself was not opposed to becoming the wife of this man, they did not even try to bring her back. Moreover, in this case, the groom was exempted from paying bride price, and the bride’s parents even paid as a token of gratitude for the fact that their beloved daughter was taken into their family.

Wisdom of the Elders

It is a wonderful tradition to show honor and respect to elders at weddings. They are always the most honored guests, say the first toasts, share their advice with the newlyweds and everyone present on how to live a long happy life in marriage.


feel sick

Bread is a subject of special respect. Until now, the Lezgins have preserved the custom, according to which the bride was sprinkled with flour when she entered the kitchen for the first time in a new family. It was believed that this gives well-being and comfort to the newlyweds for many years. To prove that she was now the mistress of this kitchen, the young woman took a handful of flour in her hand and threw it directly into the fire.


Family relations among the Lezgins are subject to a clear hierarchy. Patriarchy rules the ball here, important decisions are made by men, they have the last and decisive word that cannot be disputed.

The role of a woman

Women remain in a secondary position, they do not have the right to vote. Even in modern families, in some places, men with women in the same family still do not eat together in the same room, as before. But before you sympathize, you need to understand what Lezgi women are and what their role is in the family.

They are the keepers of the hearth, all housework and raising children are on their shoulders. But at the same time, a woman forced to work is an unprecedented phenomenon for this people. Even if she remained a widow, her father, brothers, relatives of her husband and other men took custody of her.

Lezgi women

privileged position

Jokes on women are strictly prohibited, and you can’t offend them either. If someone hit the fair sex, he thereby dishonored not only his family, but the entire community. After such an act, the offender could even pay with his own life or become an outcast forever.

These days, after a significant family quarrel, a wife may go to live with her parents. This is considered a tragedy, and her husband’s relatives negotiate, persuade her to return and restore the family.

Even if a blood feud arose between births, no one had the right to offend women: the fair sex could not be involved in a showdown. Anyone who violated this rule, in fact, signed his own death warrant. Women and girls were real peacekeeping agents: if a woman’s handkerchief fell between fighting men, they were obliged to stop fighting.

Another limitation: you cannot use foul language in the presence of a female.


There are many traditions of the Lezgi people associated with the birth of children. A man should not be in the house when his wife is in labor. The appearance of a boy in the family is pride and incredible happiness. The birth of a daughter is perceived much more restrained. The one who told the Lezgin the news about the birth of his son received a gift from the happy father.

The boy is given the name not by the mother, but by the older members of the family. Most often, a name is chosen in honor of some glorious ancestor who has already died. It is believed that the newborn will receive all his best qualities. But if with this name the baby cried a lot and got sick, then they could come up with a new one in order to change their fate and character again, to confuse evil spirits.

By tradition, the appearance of the heir is celebrated for several days. Young parents must prepare a rich table, feed the whole neighborhood: it is then that fate will be favorable to the baby.

Lezgi children

So that the child does not grow up to be a thief, his nails were not cut for a very long time for the first time. And when they did, they were burned at the stake. The first haircut of the youngest member of the family was carried out by the oldest. The fluff was placed under the pillow of the child, and this gave him a restful sleep.

It was considered a bad omen if the first tooth of the baby was noticed by the mother. If this happens, she must tear her collar and the collar of the baby to prevent trouble.


A lot of interesting traditions among the Lezgins are associated with holidays.

Flower Festival

When the mountains were covered with grass at the end of spring or at the beginning of summer, they celebrated the Festival of Flowers – Tsukverin Suvar-Arbe. This happened at the end of May or during the first week of June. They appointed a shah (toastmaster), he was the most cheerful person in the village. On the appointed day, it was necessary to go on a hike for a bouquet. For this, a whole procession was sent, armed with food. They were noisy joyful people in bright clothes. Musicians marched ahead, playing the zurn and the drum, all singing songs.

This procession left for the mountains at midnight. There they arranged songs, dances, competitions, tore bouquets, harvested herbs for medicines, spices, cooking and drinks. In the evening they came back and gave what they had collected to the old people.

Cherry holiday

This is a holiday of farmers and pastoralists, which the Lezgins call Piniyrin Suvar – Kiaru. For all Lezgins, this was an important day, which traditionally fell at the end of June. Everyone put on beautiful national clothes, riders rode young horses, and races were held on experienced horses. The youth danced and sang ritual songs.

Cherry holiday

New Year

Yaran Suvar is another interesting tradition of the Lezgi people. This is an analogue of the New Year, which was celebrated in the spring, like our ancestors. The preparation of special rich treats and sweets was of great importance. According to custom, it was necessary to invite as many relatives, neighbors, friends as possible to the table. Often the celebration was held by the entire settlement.

The youth dressed in sheepskins topsy-turvy, and the children took special bags – chants, in which the neighbors put sweets. The feast was during the day, and in the evening bonfires were lit around the village, around which folk dances were danced. The youth jumped over the fire in order to drive away evil forces from themselves, not to get sick and not to know failures.

They also liked to rob in “theft of fire.” It was necessary to snatch a burning log from someone else’s fire and bring it to your own, but at the same time prevent losses in your own fire. The one who succeeded was considered skillful, dexterous and courageous. Another fun was spinning boiled eggs: the one whose egg spun the longest was the winner.

It was believed that if you do not celebrate properly, the heavenly powers can be angry with people. Traditionally, new clothes had to be put on on the Lezgin New Year, and the poorest could get away with sewing a new patch of cloth onto an old outfit to fool the gods. As a talisman, red woolen ropes were tied around the children’s necks, and the same amulets were hung that night on livestock.

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