The Beer Tradition of the Chuvash


  • Anton Salmin Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg, Russia



beer, traditions, Chuvash, ritual food, ritual drink, barley


The Chuvash are the indigenous population of the Chuvash Republic, located on the Middle Volga with its capital at Cheboksary. The Chuvash brewed beer using flour, malt and hops. Barley was considered the most suitable grain. Among the Chuvash beer was a ritual beverage. They never drank it without specific cause. After the harvest had been gathered, beer was made with the fresh grain. Kinfolk would gather for the occasion. The very fact of beer-brewing speaks of this people’s agricultural way of life. Wooden tubs were used for brewing large quantities of beer, while smaller amounts were made in pots. This drink is considered sacred among the Chuvash. It is dedicated to deities of high rank and also to the spirit of ancestors. Valued guests are welcomed and seen off with it.


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A map of Russia showing the location of the Chuvash Republic.

A ladle used for stirring and pouring when making beer in large quantities (Archive of the Chuvash State Institute of the Humanities. Section VIII. Vol. 383. Inv. No 2981а).

Beer in a mug.




How to Cite

Salmin, Anton. 2020. “The Beer Tradition of the Chuvash”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 15 (2):523-32.