Jun 28, 2012

Bosnian folk calendar

The Bosnian national (agricultural) calendar spans back to the old era. The maker of the calendar is unknown. It is known that it was created and used by a farmer. Some dates from the Julian calendar, which was created 45 years BCE, can be recognised in the Bosnian calendar. After Christianity came, some of these dates received names of saints. With the arrival of the Slavs, pagans, people known for agriculture, the dates had different names, but they always remained the same. The folk calendar was used continuously, it was used during the time of the Bogumil's, it was also used during the Ottoman period, and it even serves a purpose today. Besides this, in Bosnia the Hijri calendar was also strictly observed. It was done by the Imam's and other religious scholars, in order to be aware of the important religious dates (Ramadan, Bayram, New year, etc.). The Hijri calendar was impractical when it came to agriculture, since it moved forward ten days every solar year, however it was practical when it came to fasting during the month of Ramadan since it moved through all the seasons. We need to mention that the Hijri calendar was the official calendar in Bosnia during the Ottoman period, until the Austro-Hungarian period when they brought the Gregorian calendar.
The Bosnian folk calendar begins on December 21st, the folk belief holds that on that date, the day extends as much as a rooster can jump from a doorstep. From this date on comes the Zehmeriya (Turkish: Zehmeri) the coldest part of winter that lasts for 40 days. While Zehmeriya lasts people avoid drinking cold water in fear of catching a cold.
January: the folk call January the longest moth in the year. From January 17th the counting of the weeks until Hidirlez begins (May 6th), 17 weeks total. This is what determines the sowing.
The period from January 31st until March 20th is called Hamsin and it represents the second part of winter.
February- from February 14th until March 14th is Veljača, the folk belief is that if snow falls in the beginning of the Veljača that the year will be fertile, and that wheat will have a good yield.
Djemre (Turkish: Cemreler), the meaning of this word is "burning charcoal", it is believed that Djemre is the sun's heat which starts to have an intense impact on the land and it starts awakening the nature.
-The first Djemra appears on February 20th and heats the air. That's when the Southern wind starts blowing and it becomes milder.
-The second Djemra appears on February 27th heats up the water and raises its level. The water in the river doesn't freeze from this point on.
-The third Djemra appears on March 6th and heats up the land. The snow melts fast and the first grass starts sprouting.
(Right after the first Djemra the people have a custom to notch the roots of the birch and put a glass bottle so that the juices of the birch flow in it. The bottle stays in that position until the third Djemra. The collected juices are used for medicinal purposes, especially kidney diseases)
March: the agricultural works begin during this month, the potatoes, onions and salads are sown. After the third Djemra the fruit trees are notched and inoculated.
Grandma (Baba)- from March 15th until March 21st is the period of the grandma, the unstable period when a couple of weather phenomena change in one day.
Grandpa (Did,Djed)- from March 21st until March 28th is the period of the grandpa, the folk beliefs are that it is more merciful and people start sowing potatoes during this period.
(“Did” or Grandpa is a name (title) of each Bogumil priest in Bosnia and “Baba” (grandma) is the name of his wife who helped her husband and the community by healing with herbs, assisting in births, or foretelling fortunes. Since the Bosnian people were Bogumils before Islam came, it is then no mystery why they kept some of the memories of their old religion. Among the folk there are numerous stories, mostly comical, about Did and Baba and their adventures. By them, we can discern that they commanded great respect among the Bosnian people.)
Kablići- March 29th until March 31st
Stablići- April 1st until April 3rd
Štapići- April 4th until April 7th
(All three names are connected to the past of Bosnia when the winters were very long and they usually lasted until the middle of April. During that period the cattle used to die because of lack of food)
Mučenjaci- period from April 8th until July, this is the period when people suffered (hence the name) until the sowing of the wheat.
April: during April the corn is sown. The old Bosniaks would wait for the frogs to start making noise, which would be a sign that the climate is optimal for sowing. The people also followed other signs of the nature, and therefore it is believed that when the beech tree starts sprouting leaves that one can begin sowing grain without fearing frost. During the middle of April the grapevine was notched and a bottle was placed underneath it for the juices to drip in it until Hidirlez. This juice was used by women to smear on their hair so it would be healthy and grow quicker.
May: in the first quarter of May the sowing of beans begins.
Hidirlez or Jurjevo (May 6th)- according to the national calendar from this day forward, the summer begins and the swimming in lakes and ponds can begin. In the period from May 6th until May 13th the first swarms of bees are let loose.
June: the first seven days of June are called "bijela nedjelja” or “white week" because the white mushrooms ( Cantharellus cibarius) are picked in the forests at that time. In the beginning of June , pumpkins, turnips and radishes are sown.
August: it is believed that this month gives diarrhea to children and the elderly. To prevent this from happening, the mothers would take some clothes of their children and throw it under the wheel of carriages that carry wheat bundles. In the first days of August the onion and garlic are picked.
Aliđun- August 2nd: the folk belief is that from this day on, the summer loses its heat and slowly turns into autumn, the water in the rivers begins to cool down and there can be no more swimming.
September: during this month the potato is reaped, the corn as well and the grapes start ripening. If some strawberries sprout in September, then it is believed that the autumn will be long and mild.
October: in the first and second week of October wheat is sown.
Kasum - November 8th: from this day onward, winter starts. On this day, all loans are settled, and leases of land end.

Jun 22, 2012

Sarajevo Film Festival 2012.

The Festival
The 18th edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival will take place from 6th till 14th July, 2012.

After the 4-year-long siege of Sarajevo, and with an intention to recreate civil society of the City, in 1995, we founded the Sarajevo Film Festival. Today, we are proud to say that Sarajevo Film Festival represents the main meeting place for all regional producers and authors and is recognized by film professionals from all over the world as the pinnacle point for networking for all wishing to learn more about the possibilities this region has to offer.

Festival Programme
The Sarajevo Film Festival present a wide programme selection of both competitive and non-competitive films. Sarajevo Film Festival Competition program is accredited by FIAPF as a Competitive Specialized Festival. 

The main focus is the region of Southeast Europe (Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece. Hungary, FYR Macedonia, Malta, Monte Negro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, UNMI Kosova) and its filmmakers which compete in Feature, Short and Documentary film section. The festival aims to present important and innovative films of high artistic value made throughout the world.

CineLink is is a year-long project development programme resulting in an annual co-production market during the festival dates.

CineLink Market each year presents approximately 10 finest regional projects for feature-length fiction films.

CineLink offers festival guests a special opportunity to meet with the assembled regional industry, with emphasis on young filmmakers, producers and directors presenting their latest projects, productions and works in progress, with highlights of the regional production presented to international distributors, TV-buyers and festival programmers, making CineLink the most important international market place for new features from Southeast Europe. For the past few years CineLink is the most important international film industry market in Southeast Europe.

Sarajevo Talent Campus
In cooperation with the Berlin International Film Festival and Berlinale Talent Campus, since 2007 we organize the Sarajevo Talent Campus. This exciting new educational and creative platform for up and coming young  film professionals became the the most prestigious film training event in the region. Each year we receive more than two hundred applications, and only eighty most talented are privileged to attend a six-day training led by some of the most important film professionals in the world. 

Sarajevo City of Film
For many years, the Sarajevo Film Festival has been developing programme platforms which aim towards providing support and promoting of the new young film scene in the region. It is in this framework that our recent project, Sarajevo City of Film, represents a natural upgrade and linkage between these two fields of activities – the education, i.e. training, and the film industry. Sarajevo City of Film fund has been launched in 2008, with the aim to encourage and motivate the young film directors from the region of South-Eastern Europe to realise joint projects/films, together with their colleagues, the screenwriters, producers, and actors (participants of Sarajevo Talent Campus).

Festival Centre
Festival Centre is situated at Old Officer's Club (Dom Armije), the space that offers unique professional, yet creative and relaxed working atmosphere. All the professional services as well as Festival press office are situated at Festival Centre. 

The Sarajevo Film Festival has thirteen festival programs that are visited by 100.000 people each year. Our public is mainly from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but we also attract large numbers of international film professionals who find Sarajevo Film Festival as a unique point for networking and learning about the possibilities this region has to offer.


Jun 14, 2012

Bosnian meals

One food that most if not all Bosniaks eat outside the home is the much-loved ćevapčići or ćevapi, for which one goes to a ćevabdžinica. This is finger-sized ground meat grilled and served in a split lepinje / somun (Bosnian yeast bread about 10 inches in diameter) and eaten with chopped onions. Typically an order comes with either 6 or 10 ćevapi. This food is so tightly integrated into Bosnian culture that some of the first restaurants established by post-aggresion war (from Serbia and Montenegro) immigrants to the United States usually sold nothing but ćevapi.

There are many opinions on what makes the best ćevapi; some say it should be a mix of veal and lamb, others that it should also include beef. In the United States pack-aged ćevapi are available wherever Bosniaks settled, and although it is now grilled at home and is a favorite picnic food, Bosniaks also eat it at local Bosnian American restaurants. There has been a general replacement of lamb with beef among Bosniaks Americans, and this has included ćevapi, which are generally all beef.
Some restaurants are known for having an exceptional mixed grill: ćevap, a meat patty with onion (pljeskavica), shish kebab (šiš-ćevap), small pieces of veal on a skewer (ražnjići), beef cutlets (đulbastija or culbastija) and lamb kidney. Bosniaks are not big meat eaters, but they like meat mixed grill is a treat. Proportionally, meat makes up about 40 percent of Bosniaks diet.

Trahana or tarhana is a special food prepared in Bosniak homes, and it is considered a specifically Bosnian food, a belief reinforced by a traditional saying tarana. Trahana is a small granular dumpling used in soup and as gruel for babies. Production takes about a week for the dough to sour before it is forced through a traditional sieve (sito za trahanu) to form the grains. It is then dried and stored in a dry place.

Also symbolic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, pita is the most common dish. Bosniaks are especially known for theirs. Like sarma, pita is eaten every day as well as at celebratory meals. When making pita, it is traditional to place the filled dough into a large round pan with sides about one to two inches high (tepsija or tevsija), starting in the center and coiling it around itself until the pan is full. It is cut into wedges for serving to individuals, but if is eaten from the tevsija, people break off pieces with the right hand. It can also be made in individual serving.

Sarma, possibly the food that most symbolizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, is one of those dishes that frequently appears on everyday tables and is requisite at celebratory meals. The rolls are made with beef or lamb (or a mixture) and rice. The cabbage- or sauerkraut-wrapped rolls are stacked in a pan, which ideally is lined with bones or ribs, to which tomatoes or tomato sauce is added; they are then simmered until done. When whole-leaf sauerkraut is not available, chopped sauerkraut can be added to the pan.