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The Avars

The AvarsThe self-name is the Maarulal. The Language is the Avarian. The Avars (577 thousand persons were in 1996; the Iberian-Caucasian language group) are settled in the central and western Daghestan, in the basin of the Sulak river inflows. The Andian (the Andians, the Akhvakhs, the Bagulals, the Botlikhs, the Godoberins, the Karatins, the Tindals, the Chimalals) and the Didoian (the Bezhtins, the Ginukhs, the Gunzibins, the Khvarshins, the Tsezy- Didoians) nationalities and the Archins are related with them by origin, culture and language. They occupy basins of the rivers Andijskoe and Avarian Koysu and the Kara-Koysu riverhead. Traditional occupations are: cattle breeding and agriculture.

Crafts: cloth weaving, pileless carpets and carpet products (the Khunzakh, the Chirkey, the Urma), pattern knitting (the Tlyrata, the Bezhta, theTsumada), manufacture of felt, felt cloaks (the Andians), processing of a leather, wood and stone engraving (the Sogratl, the Rugudja, the Gidatl, the Charoda), blacksmith's craft, copper embossing, weapon, jeweler crafts (the Gotsatl, the Ichichaly, the Gamsutl, the Chokh, the Sogratl), gold sewing (the Chokh, the Khunzakh), a wood peening (the Unzukul). Diversified economy present by: cattle breeding, field husbandry, gardening. Most of the Avars are employed in the industry.

The literature and the art achieved significant bloom. The number of national intelligency has grown. The Avars are the Moslems - Sunnites of shafiit persuasion. Before acceptance of an Islam the Avars were the Christians. The Christianity came from the neighboring Georgia in IV-V centuries.The first attempts to convert the Avars into the Islam were undertaken byThe Avars the Arabs in VII-VIII centuries. Finally the Islam became established in XV century. The Sufism of the Nakshband persuasion became established among the Avars alongside with an orthodox Islam, with so-called "quiet" or "silent" the zicrom, without dances.

During the Soviet rule the Avars preserved an Islamic and the Sufi way of life. In some places the sheiks and the theologians as bearers of the Islamic traditions has survived prosecutions. Privately many settlements had a mosque. Now mosques actively are under construction, the Arabian literacy is distributed. Inability to perform the Namaz is condemned by a public opinion. The main Muslim holidays - the End of Fasting and the Sacrifices are widely celebrated. The Prophets birthday also is popular among the Avars. The Saints cult is also widespread. Some elements of pre-monotheistic beliefs still exist: belief in demons, observance of agricultural and family ceremonialism. The Vakhabits ideas became popular among the Avars recently.

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