Vol. 14 (2020): XIV International Symposium Contemporary Issues of Literary Studies : The Silk Road Countries` Folklore
Folklore and Literary Text

Depiction of female infanticide in Svan folklore

Nestan Ratiani
Shota Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature

Published 2020-10-20


  • Neonaticide,
  • Selective Infanticide,
  • Foklore,
  • Svaneti


19th century Russian periodical literature depicts the practice of gender-selective neonaticide in Svaneti. The most common way of female infanticide was depositing burning hot ashes in the newborn’s mouth. The practice carried a symbolic meaning emphasizing mouth as the first organ in digestive process. The practice led to the decline in female population in Svaneti and caused the male population to seek alternative ways, legal or not, getting married. The Paper focuses on three Svan folklore texts that are based on the practice of female neonaticide.