May 2, 2016

It's difficult being a Bosnian daughter-in-law

   According to Mula Rašida Hadži-Pašić from Žepče for a woman to have all the necessary criteria and get the title of a desirable bachelorette, she had to have long hair, dark eyes, stout, round and rosy face, white complexion, thin spread eyebrows, wide and flat forehead, small mouth, small and dense white teeth, long neck, spread chest, medium height, thin in the waist and she mustn't be dus-taban, since she would bring bad luck. Her feet need to be small and on her palm she has to have long lines, this indicates that she is happier and of good breed. Age wise, she needs to be younger than the male by a few years.

Her behaviour needs to be decent and if she is marry, and laughs too much, people would say that she is ludasija - crazy, and if she sings too much she would be called harlakurla or eksik-tahta, that she is silly, or as the jargon of the neighbourhood would state - she has a few screws loose.

In Zavidovići a desirable bachelorette is one which is not dus-taban, since she is unlucky, that her eyebrows are not connected, because of the belief that she is angry and rough, and that she is of a wide forehead - wide mind - and small mouth.

A girl tall and thin has no evlad (birth abilities), smaller and buxom has evlad and gives birth primarily to male children. Woman of a middle built gives birth first to female and then to male children. For a girl which blinks too much, it was believed that she won't have any children. A woman which puts her right leg forward first when walking will get children sooner than the one which doesn't. Chaste girl walks quickly and looks in front of herself, and the one which walks slowly is temerut i.e. lazy. A woman looking around is vižlasta and šarijasta, she would gladly see everything and know everything, and she loves men. A woman which is in awe of everything is called by the folk blentulja i.e. stupid.

Her qualities and flaws were judged by the way she communicates, eats and her height.


Quiet and shy girl was considered to be smart (submissive), a communicative girl was called šarijasta, brbljača, lapača, laprdljavica. A thin voice is sojli, a rough one is not.


Thin, tall girl was called "škrabulja", "visulja" i.e. unattractive. All clothes look bad on such a girl. On the other hand to a small girl it was said "there is no woman there until lunch time". According to this among the folk it was said that a woman of a middle height is ideal. If she is not too tall and fat nor small and skinny it was said that she was "kalufli".


A girl which would open her mouth too wide, when eating, was considered to be a cotquean and eager and if she munches - stupid.

Nedžad Salković, one of the greats of sevdah, is a classic example of an extremely good looking Bosnian male.

Hanka Paldum, a legend of Bosnian sevdah, besides a beautiful voice, she is the "owner" of extremely good physical looks. She is the true example of those women which get more beautiful as they age.