May 26, 2012

Gretings from Bosnia

Bosnia is famous for its generous hospitable people, its exotic architectural and historical monuments, its rich folklore and handicrafts, and colourful bazaars. With its superb scenery, unpolluted rivers, mediaeval tombstones and many rare beauty spots and contrasts, it could well be termed a gem of European tourism.

May 18, 2012


Falanje or fortune telling  comes from the Persian word fal, to bode, or tefaul which means positive fortune telling. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, besides a unique method that is practiced by some Imam's, a combination of astrology, numerology and spiritual science known amongst the people as "opening of the starts" or yildiznama, the three most popular divination systems are present: fortune telling with the help of beans, coffee and cards.

The desire to foretell the future is as old as mankind itself. The fear of the unknown and generally, man's need to influence fate has led to various forms of fortunetelling which served to foretell the outcome of some disease, to find a thief, to find out the sex of the baby, to find out whether the year will be fruitful, to find out if a couple will get married, etc.

According to the beliefs in Bosnia the ideal day for fortunetelling, especially with the help of beans or coffee, is Tuesday. This is because it is believed that Tuesday is the day of magic when each spell has a stronger effect and each fortunetelling is more accurate.

To foretell the future using coffee, it is necessary to fulfil a few simple conditions. First, the coffee cannot be express coffee but "Bosnian coffee" so that the cup will contain a lot of sediment. The coffee should be drank hot and without sugar.

When the coffee is finished, the person that wants its future foretold, places some money under the saucer and spins the cup three times clockwise and covers it with the saucer. After that one places his/her index finger from his/her right hand on the cup and in his/her mind he/she must make a wish or think about a specific person. The side of the cup from which the client drank is considered to be a representation of him, whilst the opposite side is considered to represent a person of the opposite sex. The bottom of the cup is a symbol of a home and all the symbols that are found on that part signify events inside the family.

Before the fortune teller starts, he/she first checks the situation of the entire cup. If the space around the handle of the cup is empty and without any sediment, it is believed that the person is unhappy in love affairs or is in a bad financial situation.

If the bottom of the cup is filled with sediment that signifies a period of prosperity while an empty bottom signifies a bad financial situation, a departure or a trip.

Bosnian fortune tellers pay specific attention to interpretation of individual symbols and they connect them with other symbols in their vicinity. Of course, there are some other important symbols that every fortune teller pays specific attention to. If there happens to be three identical symbols inside the cup, then that signifies great pleasure...

The following represents some interpretations that Bosnian fortune tellers use during their fortune telling using coffee:

Angel- joy, a wish coming true

Aeroplane- mail, news

Car- happiness

Bull- wealth, money

Old woman- sorrow, sickness

Numbers: 1- decision, 2-sickness, 3-date, 4-you must be patient, 5-worry...

Flowers: you are in an advantageous period

Pigeon: mail, news

Lizard: change, new beginning

Piano: you will receive an important message

Umbrella- you will meet an old love partner

Wolf: tears and sorrow because of jealousy

Moon: feast, a wish will come true

Bear: sickness

Mouse: beware of a theft

Knife: an end of a relationship or marriage

Eagle: an advantageous change or move

Frog: you will be a victim of someone's scheme and intrigue

Dots: large dots in the cup always symbolise favourable news. Large dot on the bottom of the cup: pregnancy in the family

Pregnant woman: monetary gain, present

Horse: a victory in court or in sports

Chicken: others are slandering you

Pyramid: trouble with a court or the law

Dog: stable relationship or marriage, loyal friend

Ring: marriage

Heron: pregnancy

Fish: worry, disease

Letters: A-new beginning or a new job, T- stress, F-love...

Heart: the best symbol in love fortune telling. This is a sign of love. If the heart symbol is white then it signifies true feelings

Deer: an important conversation with your partner

Cat: a black cat is a symbol of hatred, someone doesn't like you. A white cat warns you to be careful with blandishment and mellifluous words

Bird: a symbol for news

Parrot: you will meet a person who speaks two languages or is a stranger

Spider: be careful of your pride and stubbornness

Rifle or a gun: stress, anger

Dragon: you are prone to saving and keeping money

Snake: enemy, adversary in love

Rabbit: you are having problems sleeping

Squirrel: lack of confidence or bravery

Cross: argument, fight

Fox: be careful or lies and hoaxes

Glasses: you will meet a new person...

At the end of every fortune telling the client presses his finger on the bottom of the cup and makes a wish so that the fortune teller can see if it will come true. The sediment that remains on the finger of a female client is placed under her tongue so that her man says her name often and that he thinks about her often.

Fortune telling for marriage: When a girl comes to someone's house for coffee for the first time, she needs to steal a lump of sugar in a manner that no one notices it, and then when she goes to sleep she should place that lump under her pillow. That night she will have a dream about the man that she will marry.

May 1, 2012


Čifuti: Coming to Bosnia the Jewish people were known as very stingy people to which a dozen sayings witness. That's why they are called Čifuti or misers. But the thing which was most linked to them was the killing of children. This belief about the Jews is not far from the truth because we find written records in Bosnia about the concoction of a magical remedy made out of human parts, called mumijo or mumya, which were made by the Jewish witches or rabbis. They acquired human parts by stealing corpses or by kidnapping and killing Christian and Muslim children. It was believed that during Pasha or some other holiday the Jews steal a child place him in a casserole and sting it with needles until it bleeds out. That's why children were frightened by these words: "Run to your uncle, run to your uncle, sting!" (Bježi amidži, bježi daidži, boc!”) in order for them to stay away from the Jewish homes.