As part of the annual cultural and sports festival "Abaza" in the capital of the KChR, the city of Cherkessk, the Day of Culture of the Abkhaz-Abaza ethnic group and the Day of the Abkhazian flag were held. 

Amra Amichba

The Day of Culture of the Abaza People and the Day of the State Flag of Abkhazia were celebrated in Cherkessk, the capital of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, on July 23. The event became part of the annual cultural and sports festival "Abaza".

Members of the Supreme Council of the WAC - Chairman of the State Committee for Repatriation Vadim Kharazia, head of the AbIGI Arda Ashuba, Deputy of the People's Assembly of the Republic of Abkhazia Inar Gitsba came from Abkhazia and from Turkey - the head of the regional branch of the World Abaza Congress in Turkey and a member of the Presidium and the Supreme Council of the WAC Ahmet Khapat. A group of young people also came to the celebration of the Day of the Abkhazian flag: athletes from Abkhazia are now in the KChR, who participate in the cultural and sports festival "Abaza". All guests were met as a hospitable host by the Deputy Chairman of the People's Assembly of the KChR, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC Mussa Ekzekov - the event is held annually in his native Karachay-Cherkessia.

Guests of the large-scale celebration, arranged in the Cherkessk Green Island park, had the opportunity to visit several thematic pavilions. The "Green Island" was full of bright national costumes, here one could carefully study women's headdresses. Original objects of arts and crafts, national dishes and delicacies, an exhibition of paintings by artists and a stand with historical materials about the Abaza people, as well as Abkhazian flags from different historical periods - all this could be viewed to the sounds of old Abaza melodies.

Fatima Gonshokova, who visited all the expositions, admitted that she was most pleased with the interest in the event from young people, the large number of young men and women at the festival.

"Such days unite peoples, not only Abaza, but also all those living in Karachay-Cherkessia, especially young people. They get to know each other, then they will communicate and be friends. I wish peace and prosperity to everyone. May troubles bypass our countries," the woman wished.

Men’s attention, as usual, was attracted by exhibitions of weapons and knives. The pavilion of the master Zurab Tokushinov was crowded. The craftsman told everyone who wished about the features of the manufacture of Abaza knives.

"It seems that they are the same as the knives of other peoples of the Caucasus, but there are differences. Our sheaths are straight, the knife is inserted in both directions, no one else has this. But other characteristics are the same. The knife is durable, sharp, and, if possible, beautiful. We remember traditions, make our people happy, we make knives that are useful in everyday life. These are not souvenir, but working knives: they are used when butchering animals, on the farm as kitchen ones," Takushinov said and shared that he now has eight students who learn how to make Abaza national knives.

Member of the Supreme Council of the WAC, head of ABIGI Arda Ashuba for the first time participated in the celebration of the day of the state flag of Abkhazia in Cherkessk, where, according to him, he felt that he was among the closest people.

"The flag that proudly flies over independent Abkhazia has brought us all at today's holiday. The scale of the event, the importance attached here to the date of approval of the state symbols of Abkhazia, the exhibited national household items, coupled with each other's languages, which we understand without translation - all  this confirms that Abkhazians and Abaza are one people," Ashuba said.

In the evening, visitors to the park gathered in the amphitheater, where a concert of creative teams of the KChR and folk ensembles took place. Abkhazia was represented at the concert by the singer Aldona Tskua.

Opening the program with his speech, the Chairman of the WAC Supreme Council Mussa Ekzekov noted that the traditional cultural and sports festival "Abaza", within the framework of which the Day of Culture of the Abkhaz-Abaza ethnic group and the Day of the Abkhazian flag is held, this year is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic.

"The festival is a platform for intercultural communication, where we share the beauty of the culture of our people with all the peoples of multinational Russia and the countries where our compatriots live, both in person and online. The cultural and linguistic diversity of the peoples of Russia is an invaluable wealth of our great Motherland, which provides all the necessary conditions for the preservation and development of any ethnic group. The Russian people play a key and collective role, contribute to the mutual enrichment of cultures, is a connecting and stabilizing force for all regions of Russia. I am convinced that the guests and participants of the festival will  retransmit in their countries and cities the atmosphere of unity and brotherhood that reign here. I thank everyone that you share our celebration of culture, sports and unity," concluded Ekzekov.

He recalled that July 23 is also the day of the release of the first issue of the Abaza newspaper "Abazashta".

"We thank the staff of the newspaper for the important work for our people. We would like to wish prosperity and creative inspiration to the staff," Mussa Ekzekov said.

Minister of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic for Nationalities, Mass Communications and Press Albert Kumukov in his speech noted the importance of the traditional festival "Abaza" and the events that are held within its framework.

"We understand the importance and significance of such events for the preservation and harmonization of interethnic relations on the territory of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic. Representatives of all the peoples of the republic are at the event sites, they can get acquainted with the rich traditions, culture, cuisine of the Abaza people. We can boast of this. The number of participants is increasing, the geography of the event is expanding. I am sure it will always be like this. I would like to note and thank the "Alashara" organization and its president Mussa Khabalevich Ekzekov for this event and for all the work in the preservation and development of the Abaza people, in the harmonization of interethnic and interconfessional relations on the territory of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic," the Minister said.

Andrey Golovnev, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) was the honored guest of the event from St. Petersburg.

"Our researchers were the first to describe the Caucasian peoples, they have been engaged in the history, ethnography and culture of the Caucasus for many years. We, scientists, consider ourselves students of the peoples, we serve the peoples. The Kunstkamera keeps the values ​​of ethnicity. Ethnicity is when people are together, when people protect themselves, when they are happy. Here, at the holiday, I see the joy of unity. It is so important! It is unusual: in trouble we unite, but how beautiful it is when we unite in joy. Today's holiday is a real joy," the scientist shared his impressions.

The cultural and sports festival "Abaza" is held annually in the KChR. Every year the geography of its participants is expanding, the festive program is becoming more diverse and large-scale.