Tuesday, 31 July 2012

ABC Wednesday, C for Circassians


















Background and history

The Circassians arrived in the Middle East after they were expelled from their homeland in the northern Caucasus. The Circassians, who fought during the long period (see the Russian-Circassian War) wherein the Russians captured the northern Caucasus, were massacred and expelled by Czarist Russia from the Caucasus. The Ottoman Empire, which saw the Circassians as experienced fighters, absorbed them in their territory and settled them in sparsely populated areas, including the Galilee.

The Circassians exiles established the village Rehaniya in 1873, and the village of Kfar Kama in 1876.

The Israeli Circassians, who are muslims, have had good relations with the Jewish community in Israel since the beginning of the Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel, thanks to the common language they had with the First Aliyah immigrants from Russia who settled in the Galilee. The Circassian community in Israel helped the illegal immigration (Ha'apala) of Jews from Lebanon into Mandate Palestine and fought on the Israeli side of the War of Independence.

Nowadays, the Circassian community in Israel is well integrated into Israeli society, speak Adyghe and Russian (in addition to learning Hebrew, Arabic and English in elementary school), while cultivating their unique heritage and culture.

Our guide told us for instance that babies learned to walk with the means of a wooden  walking frame. As soon as they could walk by themselves, the older brothers and sisters were spreading the news in the village and treating every body to a sweet. The whole village was celebrating!

 Another thing, which I find even more important, is that men and women are considered to be equal!  Young women and men were free to choose their own partners. The parents do not arrange marriages. If parents did not agree with their child's choice, the man just abducted his bride-to-be and they married  anyway with or without their parents'consent.

















Another tradition was that guests could always stay with a family, and that it was shown in a device which hung next to the door. It was a long double cord . The left side was (in this museum) solid pink, while the right side was striped. When the guest had stayed long enough according to the host, the latter turned the cord so that the striped side hung on the left side. This was a sign that  the guest had to leave.

















A lot of thanks to Denise Nesbitt, who created ABC, and Roger ,who took over the  management from her .Click on the logo in the sidebar if you want to see the other posts. This week we are looking for words beginning with C.












21 comments:

Meryl Jaffe, PhD said...

Super post! I knew very little about the Circassians. Thanks - and have a great week.

Roger Owen Green said...

Wow! This is extremely interesting, mostly because I knew almost NONE of this. "One world in harmony", a line from a Dire Straits song I'm currently listening to.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Wanda said...

This was indeed, a very interesting read, and I too did not know any of this. Thanks for such a great post today for our letter "C"

photowannabe said...

Well I guess I must join the rest of those commenting and say I knew nothing about these people either.
Fascinating information. Thank you for sharing.

lotusleaf said...

An interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

Kay L. Davies said...

What fascinating information, Wil. I especially like the equality between men and women, and the marriage and visiting rites. Wonderful contribution to ABC Wednesday, my friend.
K

Gemma Wiseman said...

What an intriguing post! Love how you have explained the history and the lifestyle!

Leslie: said...

That cord idea would be great when family overstays their welcome! lol

Leslie
abcw team

Shooting Parrots said...

Like Leslie, I think the cord is a great idea to have at home!

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Wow! great photo shots and most informative post ~ for ABC ~~ thanks, namaste, (A Creative Harbor)

Emille said...

Interesting info about this ethnic group, Wil! I wonder if the cord for quests means that their stay was not talked about? Intriguing custom!

Hildred and Charles said...

Very interesting post, Wil. I knew nothing about the Circassians, - think their guest tradition was very subtle - but practical.

Paula Scott said...

What a great piece of historical and cultural information! I LOVE the cord code!

cloudia charters said...

How very interesting. Thank you, Wil, for showing us


Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral
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chubskulit said...

I wonder what the green thing is on top of the building. Catching up with ABC.

C is for...
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

PS.. COMMENTS makes me happy!

Ann said...

I've learned so much by reading this great C post. I love the cord idea--no words needed. I love the history you brought. Thanks for your comment on my blog--I'm so happy your life did turn out wonderful after the difficult childhood.
Ann

Black Jack's Carol said...

Brand new information for me, as well, and much appreciated. Great "Can't-we-all-just-get-along": lessons for those in places where the Cultures Clash. The Cord idea made me smile. As amusing as the idea is, I know it would cause family rifts in my part of the world.

Cheri said...

Very interesting and all news to me, so thanks for sharing. I like the idea of the cord. I don't think it would get much use around here, but it would be a handy custom to have, JIC. ;-)

ChrisJ said...

Fascinating! I am so interested in the history of the Middle East and Asia.

Island Rambles Blog said...

That is a lot of great information, I also knew none of it!Fascinating and educational. I ended up spending some time at your Youtube site and you have really contributed a lot of your work and life there. Thanks for sharing. I like your blog sidebar notes and pictures.

Rita said...

With all the out of town guest I get I need to invest in one of those cords.

How many decades would it take for them to learn the meaning of having it around?