The Abkhazian people are the bearer of a distinctive culture and traditions, many of which have been formed for thousands of years and have survived to this day.
Over the course of centuries of history, the Abkhazians have created their own unique culture, which is based on the folk code of ethics "apsuara", literally "Abkhazism". According to the famous Abkhazian ethnologist, Professor Shalva Inal-ipa, "apsuara" is a historically established form of manifestation of national self-consciousness and self-affirmation of the Abkhazians, an unwritten code of folk knowledge and values, covering the entire system of customs, ideas and principles. In other words, this is the spiritual code of honor of the Abkhazians, where moral qualities are elevated to an absolute value and do not allow immoral acts.
A person who follows the "apsuara" can always be recognized by his behavior and manner of staying in society, having a conversation with elders, with peers, with younger ones. "Apsuara" forms the basis of social behavior, the important principle of which is "alamys", conscience. For the Abkhazians, this concept has a very specific ethnic content. According to the popular saying, "the death of an Abkhazian is in his own conscience", which is interpreted as follows: an Abkhazian who committed an act against conscience "dies" alive. The prohibitive principles of "apsuara" have always been of great importance. For example, "phashyaroup", "shameful" is a principle associated with the fear of violating the behavioral norms accepted in society.
Since ancient times, the Abkhazians have been known under the names "Abadza", "Azekha", "Apkhaza", "Abkhaz", "Abaza". Abkhazians call themselves "Apsua", and their country - "Apsny".
Historically, the Abkhazian people lived in the territories from the Ingur River to the Bzyb River - Greater Abkhazia - and from the Bzyb River to the Mzymta River - Lesser Abkhazia. The mild climate allowed the Abkhazians to be content with wickerwork covered with ferns or corn straw as housing. The wicker hut is called apatskha. Later, the inhabitants of Abkhazia began to build wooden dwellings (akuaskya). Two-story buildings were erected for wealthy nobles.
There has never been serfdom in Abkhazia. Confidential relations between peasants and nobles were sealed by milk kinship - "fosterage". According to this ancient custom, a child in infancy was given to a peasant family for education, and after a certain time he returned to his parents.
The observance of customs and traditions among the Abkhazian people is so strong that they are observed even in modern society - this manifests itself everywhere, from relationships in the family, where the daughter-in-law does not talk in the presence of the father-in-law, and ending with ways to celebrate weddings, hold a wake. Traditions that have developed under the conditions of the tribal system prevail in the life of the Abkhazians: hospitality, reverence for elders, "elders", the cult of tribal patrons and mutual assistance. Moreover, Abkhazians provide mutual material assistance to each other in all important cases of life: upon marriage, in the event of the death of any of the family members, in troubles and difficult circumstances, as well as in the performance of household work. In addition, a number of remnants persist in society, for example, blood feuds. Blood feud in the past was considered obligatory not only for the close relatives of the murdered - sons, brothers, but also for the most distant ones.
Despite the early spread of Christianity among the Abkhazians, the people never forgot their ancient pagan beliefs and the cult associated with them. Along with the national sanctuaries, where the corresponding ceremonies were held, in each family there were tribal forges - azhira. On the day of Azhirnykhua among the Abkhazians - the Day of the Creation of the World, which falls on the old New Year, it was in the ancestral forge that the family gathered to celebrate the holiday, light a candle and make a sacrifice for the health of each family member. In its ritual part, the Azhirnykhua holiday largely preserved the customs of antiquity. Today it is celebrated mainly in ancestral homes in rural areas.