Russia: Chechnya mayor bans cake-cutting at weddings

Newly-weds cutting a wedding cake

The capital of the majority-Muslim Russian republic of Chechnya has banned cake cutting and "indecent" dance moves from traditional Chechen weddings as being too "Western".

The acts are among several prohibited by an order of the Grozny mayor's office to "safeguard the spiritual and moral development" of young Chechens from what it sees as increasingly Western influences, The Moscow Times reports. Other rules specify that dance partners must be held at arms length, with the bride not even allowed to dance at all. Guests should also not show up drunk at weddings, or be dressed in a way "that does not conform with the Chechen mentality".

The move has drawn mockery on social media, with one wondering whether Russia is still a secular state. Another has more practical concerns: "How am I supposed to eat the cake now - just bite into it?" But the mayor's office is standing firm. "Some have the impression that this is a human rights violation, but this is not the case," culture department head Dina Shagidayeva tells Russian news agency RIA Novosti. She says the rules are needed because of people's failure to stop "our traditions collapsing or our nation decaying", and may be extended to other social events, such as birthdays and anniversary celebrations. Since the bans were unveiled, "wedding raids" have already been carried out and monitoring teams deployed to Grozny weddings, the Tass news agency reports.

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