The foremost duty of the host was the providing of
the safety of the guest and his belongings. To protect the
guest and to help him was at the responsibility of the host
even if the guest and the host at that time were enemies.
there was one very popular story telling about the knight who
found his shelter in the family the member of which he had once
killed. The knight in his turn could render a service to the
enemy. If the guest got killed or was insulted, relatives of the
host family and villagers were responsible for this and had to
take revenge on the offender.
Origins of the tradition
This custom goes deep into the history and following the
historical facts it shouldn't be described only in "sweet" words.
Hospitality is the direct consequence of the severe way of life of
the mountain inhabitants when a man had to overcome difficulties
connected with the climate conditions and with the constant
defiance against enemies. That is why it was natural for people
living in the mountains to count on relatives and neighbors.
However, the guest was under the patronage of the host only during
the time when he was living in his house. In the past, the
hospitality was of small duration; as the proverb says: guest in a
house - three days he's a guest, on the forth - he's a younger
Ritual of the guest
One shouldn't ask the guest where he came from and why. In the
guest room guest stayed in a company of the most respected man in
the family, and in this case all people present in the room had to
stand. Even if the host was very busy, he had to be with the
guest. Host and his familiars tried to satisfy any guest's wish
and that requested from him response modesty. Guest was offered
the best food and if he stayed over the night a ship was killed
even despite the fact that there was fresh meat in the house.
Before his departure, guest was given hot food including, for
example, pies which Ossets served with beer. Guest was expected to
be modest and able to keep up the conversation.
Place for the guests
The Adygh peoples traditionally built up special houses for the
guests beyond the territory of the homestead. Sometimes around the
guest house the look of the homestead was recreated. It was
impolite for the guest to enter the homestead.
In the medieval Ossetia large and influential families as well as
the nobles built castles which consisted of house-fortress, farm
buildings and arming towers. Tower had three floors, the top floor
was left for the guests. In the modern Osset house when it is
possible a special room is given to the guests. At the countryside
a separate building could be designed for the guests. The guest
room was always decorated with the best things. Its interior
included prayer rugs, armour, musical instruments.