Hantse Guashe: A Ceremony of the Puppet Princess

(Хьэнцэ гуащэ) Hantse Guashe is a kind of ritual and ceremony for the raining.

As also known as Dzivara among the Abkhazians, the Hantse Guashe is a Puppet Princess. The puppet symbol has remained from the matriarchal stage. The mother earth is the expression of the productivity, bestowal, generosity, feeding and the fertility. One can find the origin of this symbol on the Khuhabe (Къубабэ) which is the first figure of the mother goddess. Khuhabe (Къу - бабэ), is the sign of the mountain, fruitful rain, lush and effectualness. Therefore, Hantse Guashe may be defined as the Goddess wearing humanly costume.

The young boys and girls, demonstrating the Hantse Guashe to the village people, were making tours and collected some foods shouting the motto periodically: “We are demonstrating the Hantse Guashe, our God please bring rain”. The food-givers were not giving the ready-cooked foods but raw ones as flour, corn, egg, dried meat etc. And the food-givers dropping some water on the Hantse Guashe were repeating the slogan “our God please bring rain”.

Then the boys were cooking the foods on the riverside by praying to the God. Some parallel versions of that ceremony can also be found among the different tribes of the Circassians. The Shapsyghs, on the other hand, were holding the Hantse Guashe inside the river till raining. As written by Kashej Talip, Kabardians were putting up the Hantse Guashe middle of the village and dancing around it with their traditional dance Wuidz Khurey. Another version had been founding among another Adyghe group who were carrying the Hantse Guashe with the cheese and flour inside the sieve which the water of cheese was symbolizing the rain and the flour was a fertilized soil.

Source: Dumanish Auledin, Çerkes Kültürü Üzerine Etüd Kayseri Kafkas Derneği, 2004


 Source: Adyghe folk songs and instrumental melodies, Baragunov V. H., Kardangushev Z. P., Moscow, 1980 (Народные песни и инструментальные наигрыши адыгов, сост. Барагунов В.Х., Кардангушев З.П. Москва: 1980 (том 1)