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National Mentalities:

Studies in the Context of Globalization and Interaction of Cultures

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Main/Ethnic and Cultural Diversity of Russia/Ethnopsychological Features of the Peoples of Russia/The Volga Region and Cisurals/

Ethno-mentality of the Chuvashs (E. V. Nikitina)

The article presents author's description of the Chuvash ethnic mentality. The paper is based on the review of historical, ethnographic, ethno-psychological and philosophical works devoted to the study of culture and life of the Chuvash people.

The Chuvash is a unique Turkic-speaking people in Russia, they have their ancient monolithic ethnic culture. They are direct descendants of Great Bulgaria, and later — Volga Bulgaria. The Chuvash culture includes Turkic, Finno-Ugric, Slavic, Russian and other traditions, but it is not identical to any of them.

Several key elements are the basis of traditional Chuvash ethnic mentality: ethnic religion ‘sardash’; mythological view of the world; symbolism (‘readability’) of the ornament embroidery; collectivism (community spirit) at work and in everyday life; respect for the ancestors and worship of motherhood; authority of the mother tongue; loyalty to oath and to duty to the motherland; love for the land and nature. The most important feature of the Chuvash ethnic mentality is belief in the rightfulness of ‘ancestors’ teachings’.

In addition to such qualities as high workability and patience, modesty and desire not to ‘show off’; envy and resentment, the Chuvash people are never downhearted (they are optimistic); they respect the different. Two specific traditional worldviews that distinguish the Chuvash people from other peoples, even neighbour ethnic groups are the cult of virginity and the recognition of fair revenge through suicide (‘tipshar’).

Keywords: ethnic mentality, the people of the Volga and Ural regions, the Chuvash people, Chuvash ethnic mentality, Chuvash ethnic culture.

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