LYKHNY ― In the picturesque meadows of Lykhnashta, the annual harvest festival, a symbol of cultural heritage and unity, unfolded with grandeur today. After a brief hiatus due to the pandemic, the festival saw its revival, marking a time-honoured tradition that brings together 20 villages from the Gudauta district, including New Afon.
The festival commenced on a vibrant note with visitors flocking early to witness the meticulous decoration of tents and pavilions, each representing the unique culture of its village. This year, the festival welcomed a new addition, an Abazin pavilion, showcasing the rich cultural tapestry of the Abazin people.
Culinary delights were at the heart of the celebration, with villagers cooking traditional dishes like meat and mamaliga in large cauldrons, and some even roasting whole bull carcasses on spits. The pavilions, adorned with bamboo, mandarin tree branches, corn, tobacco, and animal skins, reflected the diverse agricultural heritage of the region.
Children revealed in horse rides, while the event was carefully monitored by law enforcement and medical personnel to ensure safety. The festival also attracted tourists, who eagerly immersed themselves in the local culture, donning traditional costumes and exploring historical artefacts.
The large villages of Lykhny and Duripsh boasted spacious pavilions, where visitors indulged in national dishes and perused exhibitions featuring old household items, national costumes, and handicrafts. Nuri Dzhergenia, a Lykhny resident, reminisced about the festival's origins 40 years ago, highlighting its evolution over the decades.
The Duripsh pavilion, with its photo zone and Abkhazian songs, was a popular attraction, offering a glimpse into the village's historical connections with foreign dignitaries and local legends.
For the first time, the Abazins from the Karachay-Cherkess Republic participated, with delegation head Murat Gedugov emphasising their goal to share the Abazin culture. The Abazin pavilion displayed traditional costumes, weapons, and handicrafts, celebrating the shared heritage of the Abazins and Abkhazians.
We are thrilled to be here. Thanks to the invitation from the Gudauta district administration, we represent three esteemed organisations: the World Abkhaz-Abazin Congress, the International Association for the Preservation and Development of the Abazin-Abkhazian Ethnos 'Alashara', and the Public Organisation 'Abaza'. We have prepared what we believe is a remarkable Abazin yard. Our visit aims to showcase our way of life, culture, national arts and crafts, and our cuisine," said Gedugov.
High-ranking officials, including Abkhaz Vice President Badra Gunba and Prime Minister Alexander Ankvab, attended the festival, underscoring the significance of the event in promoting peace and prosperity in Abkhazia. The event also featured a concert with performances by local and guest artists, further enhancing the festive spirit.
The festival, with its blend of cultural exhibitions, culinary experiences, and musical performances, not only served as a testament to the rich heritage of the region but also as a beacon of unity and community spirit, drawing visitors from across the republic and beyond.