Apr 12, 2012

Festivals in BiH

„Baščaršijske nights“ (July in Sarajevo)
For the entire month of July the old town in Sarajevo (baščaršija) hosts cultural events from whirling dervishes to Viennese sympharmonic and Celtic concerts. Each night has something special and most events are free of charge. It's the longest and one of the best events in the whole country.

Sarajevo Film Festival (August in Sarajevo)

The rebellious and artistic soul of Sarajevo flared during the war years. Amidst the death and destruction of Sarajevo, several Sarajevan artist decided to host an international film festival. It has gone from an improvised vision to one of the best film festival in Europe. It's a great place to meet and mingle with actors, producers, and the stars. Unlike Venice and Cannes, Sarajevo's film festival has no barriers between the viewing public and the artist themselves. Its a fun, laid-back occasion and an opportunity to check out great films, short films and documentaries from some of the world's greatest.

MESS (October in Sarajevo)
MESS theatre festival has been a tradition in Sarajevo for over a century. Some of the finest theatre groups in Europe regularly take part in this annual gathering. MESS also highlights the event with alternative and modern dance. Alongside the well-known names are also the best regional performers from southern Europe. Tickets are sometimes hard to come by but can be purchased online in advance. Check out the website.
Jazz festival (November in Sarajevo)
More and more of the big names in jazz are starting to buzz around the annual jazz in Sarajevo. The venues are usually small and intimate and there are always free jam sessions in jazz clubs around town after the show. Tickets can be purchased over the internet and there is good information about all the acts.

International Folklore Festival (July in Sarajevo)
Whereas folklore events in most countries aim to pay homage and preserve the old traditions that once existed in their homeland, folklore here is still very much alive and part of both rural and urban life. The great folk traditions of the Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs invite dozens of other folk groups from around the world to offer a 'peek into our past.... how we dressed, danced, played music, sang and lived“.
Teatar Fest (September in Sarajevo)
This theatre fest highlights young actors and actresses from around Europe and North America. The festival is free of charge and brings a wide array of excellent university theatre and dance groups.
„Sarajevan Winter“ (February-March)
Every winter Sarajevo hosts a regional thetre festival of friend and colleagues from former Yugoslavia.

Mostar Summer Festival (July)
Mostar is slowly creeping back into the cultural scene. To match its stunning architecture and beautiful surroundings, Mostar's summer festival hosts a great range of local productions in drama, music, art and film as well as international events in music and drama. It takes place for several weeks in July in venues all over the city. One of the main venues is the Croatian Cultural Centre near the Rondo.

Futura party (August in Sarajevo)
Futura is exactly what it sounds like – a great rave. Young people from throughout the region gather for finest new beats and hottest new DJs.

Una International Regatta (late July in Bihać)
The Una Regatta celebrated its 30th anniversary not too long ago. This rafting event is unmatched in the region as more and more enthusiasts gather to kayak, raft and have fun on Bosnia's most beautiful river.

Bullfight at Ilijino Brdo (20 July in Posušje)
Bullfights are gaining popularity in BiH. This events staged in western Herzegovina is a great day trip from the coast or Mostar. Bring a camera; you won't see this too often.

Summer on the Vrbas (end of July in Banja Luka)
This Banja Luka tradition is a time to visit this northern city. The cool Vrbas is a great attraction in itself let alone the various range of events and concerts.

Bullfight of Grmečka korida (9 August in Oštra Luka)
From what I understand this is one of the oldest bullfights in the country. Althought none of the bullfights is necessarily arranged for tourists, I must say it's a fascinating sight to see.

Celebration of the Apparition (24 June in Međugorje)
This event usually attracts over 100,000 faithful each year from every corner of the globe. It celebrates the day when a group of young teenagers saw the apparition of the Mother Mary on a stony hill in western Herzegovina.

The Bosnian culture of coffee (kahva)

On so many occasions I've watched confused visitors make a mess of the ritual of drinking a good Bosnian coffee, Turkish style.
Bosnian coffee comes in a small metal džezva (pronounced „jezva“) coupled with a small round cup called fildžan (filjohn). With the tiny spoon you gentle stir the top layer of coffee in the džezva. When the top turns a cream colour you are ready to pour. The džezva is usually filled with a little more coffee than the fildžan can hold.

Be aware that at the bottom of džezva are the coffee gronnds that will feel like a mouthful of sand if you pour all the way to the bottom. Leave a tiny layer on the bottom of the džezva just to be sure. Traditionally the sugar cubes are dipped into the fildžan and eaten. Feel free to plump them into the coffee and stir. Always hold the fildžan from the outer rim and never by the body, for it will more than likely be hot. If the fildžan is served in a copper holder that is meant to hold the heat in, don't pick up the copper holder to drink your coffee – that stays on the table. In some places a jelly-like candy called rahatlokum is served. It will be coated with powdered sugar and have a toothpick sticking out from it. It seems obvious what is next but I've seen people trying to dip the rahatlokum into the coffee. Please don't do that. Bend towards the table (the powdered sugar tends to go everywhere) and enjoy your Bosnian delight.

                                 Dear, prepare coffee for me
                                    (Kahvu mi, draga, ispeci)

                                 Make me a cup of coffee, dear
                                 As if it were, darling, for уоu
                                 And I shall come
                                 At midnight to sit beside уоu.
                                 Do spread a mattress, dear
                                 As if it were, darling, for you
                                 And I shall come and midnight to lie beside you.

                                  Bosnian love song - sevdalinka

Kahvedžija –  one who enjoys in coffee.
Kahvenisati – a Bosnian form of Turkish term verb „to drink coffee“
Kahvenjaci – a Bosnian word form of Turkish term for coffee dishes.


Apr 8, 2012

Blood and Vengeance: One Family's Story of the War in Bosnia

Chuck Sudetic
Blood and Vengeance: One Family's Story of the War in Bosnia
The events surrounding the genocide of eight thousand Bosniaks in 1995 by Bosnian Serbs is told through the odyssey of one Bosniak family, recounting the long and brutal history of the rival factions that claim the region.

Why do we work in Bosnia & Herzegovina?

Women for Women International exists because of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 1993, Women for Women International Founder Zainab Salbi heard reports of wartime atrocities against women in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Compelled to act, she visited the country herself.
She spoke with women who'd been imprisoned in rape camps, endured daily mass rapes by soldiers and had lost their entire families to ethnic cleansing.
When she returned to the U.S., she founded Women for Women International to help Bosnian women.
Although the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was more than 15 years ago, it toppled the economy and shattered lives, and women are still struggling today: to heal, to recover and to reunite.
With your help, Women for Women International in Bosnia and Herzegovina is working with women to rebuild their lives.

Apr 7, 2012

The Godfather (šišani kum)

If the infant gets ill, they will take him, on a »young Sunday«, ie the first Sunday in the lunar month, to a crossroads before sunrise. They will address the person who happens to come first to that crossroads by the following words: »Euzubillahi mineš šejtanir radžim. Bismillahir rahmanir rahim“«. And the chance passer-by will cut the ill infant's hair, ie make a sing of cross cutting his hairs with the scissors. It is considered a great sin to refuse to cut the hair of an ill infant. The person who has performed this »haircut« is called the »šišani kum«, ie a god- father through hair-cutting, and this is observed and respected; the »šišani kum « «, like any god-father, is considered a relative. The infant's mother immediately gives a present to the god-father through hair-cutting, and he gives a present in return on the first occasion. In case of a serious disease of an infant, a ritual sale of the infant is arranged.

If the child does not start speaking on time, also -magic actions are performed: the infant is carried in one hand and a cock in the other three times round the house and while doing so the following ritual words are pronounced: „Cock, do crow; the mute one, do speak up!“ Or a small bread is kneaded with the handle of the coffee grinder and is given to the child to eat it up.

Bosnian beliefs

It is believed that the willow is a cursed tree, that it bears no fruit, and that the hazel tree is a blessed tree, because it is the first food to animals in spring-time. It is believed that it is not good to get asleep under a walnut tree, and that it is not advisable to plant a walnut tree in the vicinity of the house, because the members of the household will die when the walnut tree root hairs reach the house.
It is believed that all the sins can be pardoned by grafting fruit-trees. „A hajduk walks through the forest in spring-time grafting fruit-trees to earn a place for his soul“.
The belief in the healing properties of some sources is is particularly linked to the source at »Teveric«, a locality between the villages of Brodac, Dazdarevo and Ostojicevo. Since times immemorial mothers have been bathing their children in that source. They throw money into the source and leave the shirts of the ill children on the trees round it.

 It is believed that each house has its own snake protector which must not be killed. In order to avoid this sin, they drive the snakes from the vicinity of the house by burning old rags.

Apr 4, 2012

Bosnian Pyramid

Welcome to the official website of the Archaeological Park:
Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation

Apr 1, 2012

Witchcraft in Bosnia


Thanks to Bogumils who at one period of the BiH history used to be dominant religion and, in the same time, worshipers of Nature, the old cults managed to survive. By their credit we can, today, follow the leads of old days witchcraft performance, which, after so many centuries still exist through various beliefs and practical performance.

Witches and their religion of Nature; worshiping of God and Goddess through the Sun and the Moon, have their deep roots in the beliefs of many nations across the Balkans and the rest of the Europe. These days, analysing ethnological data, as well as traditional beliefs from Bosnia; dozens of extremely interesting details can be disclosed showing us that old religion of Nature managed to survive both time and monotheism. However, in order to present data on witches’ performance it is necessary to write so many pages with so many data enclosed. Since, every single journey begins with a single step we’ll commence the story on witchcraft along with this very text and end it sometimes/somewhere in the future.

Time of the ritual
In Bosnia, the most powerful and the most dangerous days are considered to be those between 30th of April and the 13th of May in which, accidentally or not, the witches holiday Beltane (1st of May) happens to be. In this very period the regeneration of Nature is at its peak, as well as farming works. In the middle of this period there is a Hidirllez (6th of May) Christian-Moslem holiday of Pagan origin that is traditionally put in the context of Nature and water which is under the influence of the Moon. The worshiping of water as one of the manifestation of the Goddess is well reflected in two customs that are practised even these days in some parts of Bosnia.  This is about the celebration of the first Tuesday that precedes Hidirlez Holiday called Boni Tuesday  (Boni utorak) entirely devoted to the water treatment (of the sick). During Boni Tuesday, healing springs in the Nature are being visited; the sick drink the water and wash their bodies with it. The first Tuesday after the 6th of May is called Dovni Tuesday  (Dovni utorak) and on this day prayers are to be chanted for the wellbeing of individuals and the community as a whole. Clearly speaking; the believers used to pray or, better to say, thank to the ruler of the water (the Moon) for its support, aiming to get its protection throughout the year. Of course, by the appearance of Islam all that referring to the old Cult had to be suppressed and assimilated into the new religion. The Goddess had been changed to the prayer to Allah, although it is clear at the very first glance that those rituals have nothing to do with the Islam.

Light and the darkness

Even today in the 21st century the Bosnian witches follow the ancient guidelines in their magic performance. The part of the day when the Sun is setting and the night falls down between Aksham and Jaci ( „između akšama i jacije“ ) is still considered to be the best period for the magic performance, especially for the love magic.
Analysing in detail the information why the sunset period is the most important period of the day to the Bosnian witches for performance of the magic ritual, is to be sought in the very roots of European witchcraft history. Two of the most important holidays Beltane and Samhain celebrates the beginning of the shiny & dark part of the year. Both holidays are the moments of the most celebrated celebrations and most powerful rituals related to the divinity of the Nature. Similar to that, the end of the day and the beginning of the night represents the miniature alteration of light and the darkness, Beltan and Samhain. According to Bosnian believes , immediately after the sunset Jinny get the power, they wake up and go active, what is coincided with the belief that in the night of Beltan and Samhain the door of the spiritual world open from which various spirits and demons come to he world of human beings.