Feb 27, 2013


Velika nebeska ptica

 In the past in Bosnia the custom to throw peelings from fruit into the fire in order to feed the celestial bird were honoured. It was considered to be a good deed. According to a legend, Allah punished her to fly around the skies until the end of time without an opportunity to descend to earth and rest. The large celestial bird was punished by god because she wanted to defy gods will and at one opportunity she made a bet with god that she will change the fate of a girl and a boy that god had predetermined as husband and wife. The large celestial bird took the girl and carried her off to the tallest mountain among humans, far away from everyone. At the highest peak of the mountain, the bird spread the skin of an ox across the branches of the gigantic tree and placed the girl there. She took care of her for years until she grew into a fine young woman. In the mean time on the other side of the world the boy also matured into a handsome and strong young man who one day headed into the world to find himself a wife. He wondered around the world until his fate led him to the tall mountain. Weary from his journey he decided to rest under the exact giant tree that the girl lived on. She saw him and immediately fell in love with him. She asked him what was he doing under the tree and he replied that he was looking for a wife. The girl called him up, but the tree was so tall that he couldn't climb up nor could she climb down. Suddenly the girl came up with a solution and asked the young man to hide inside a sheep skin and remain there until she tells him otherwise. He did exactly what she told him. Not long after that the large bird came, the girl told her that she had seen a dead sheep underneath the tree and asked the bird to fetch it for her so she can make some clothes for herself out of its wool. The bird did as the girl told and flew off in search for some food.

The young man remained with the girl for a whole year, hiding from the large bird, and during that period she became pregnant and gave birth to a child. Allah who was observing what was going on the whole time called the bird to him and asked - Do you still believe that my will can be changed? - Yes, replied the bird. Then god replied that she was the one who brought the young man to the girl and helped them in consummating their love.

Feb 10, 2013

Bosnian superstitions


In Bosnia it is believed that children are like angels until they open their mouths, because they are able to utter not only good but also bad words. Even though they lose their graceful features, children still have a clean soul and therefore they are able to foretell various events; if a child often packs its things while playing it is said that it feels that the family will move soon or if it ducks its head and often stares between his legs that it feels that he will soon have a new member of family.

Among the people there is a belief that an even number of children is not a good sign and also if the youngest child resembles one of the parents uncannily. For a child that has curly hair it is believed that it will be temperamental and the child that gets wet before it turns one year old will be prone to diseases all of its life.

A loving Bosnian mother in an attempt to have all of her children love and respect each other often puts the same clothes onto them, a brother's shirt or socks onto the sister or vice versa.

It is believed that the sun wouldn't shine if there were no orphans in the world since Allah created it to warm up the orphans.

When a small child sneezes the mother utters a prophylactic formula against diseases: "Pis mace, zdrava djeca!" (shoo cat, let my children be healthy).

When a small child's teeth grow slowly it is believed that the parents don't want to have any more children.

If the children in a household have similar names then it is believed that there will be more children, a large family.

It is believed if someone stares at a woman who is breast feeding her child or if a drop of milk falls to the ground and she steps on it that she can lose all of her milk. To get her milk back the woman needs to cook trahana (oriental soup) which is three years old and as soon as she eats a few spoons of it she will have milk again.

Feb 9, 2013

Illyrians legend from Velika Kladuša

Based upon the Greek legend Illyrius, progenitor of the Illyrians was a son of Polyphemus and Galatea and the brother of Celtus and Galas. Illyrius children, Auterius,  Enchelus, Perrhaebus, Taulus, Daortho, Dissaro and Partho are the heroes of the epic poetry of Illyrian tribes. In this legend Illyrius is closely associated with a snake; she wrapped around him after being born and thus gave him all its magical powers. Modern philology aims to prove that etymologically names of Illyrians and the mentioned animal, plying the important role in the Illyrian religion, are connected.


As Japods occupied the entire territory of present-day Northwestern Bosnia, and elsewhere, it is logical to assume that they preserved and passed, on each generational shift, some of the old Illyrian legends. Such is a legend form Velika Kladusa about a father with seven sons which reassemble the Greek one. That legend describes the giant snake that guards the Gods treasure. She was living in a deep den near Velika Kladusa, in a suburb called a Rudnik. At a time when Romans achieve military superiority over the Bosnian land, there was an Illyrian family – father of seven sons and one daughter. Life was modest but nice until the day when children, out of sheer wantonness and youthful exuberance placed the flatbread on the stone and hit it with a spear. Horrified with this sacrilege of wheat, a gift of the Gods that feeds people, the father tried to reason the children and prevent them of throwing the spear to the flatbread, but in vain.      

Suddenly something strange happened and forced the young man to stop their game – the flatbread started to bleed?! Seeing this strange omen, the father grabbed his head with his hands and wept because at that moment he realized that the Gods will punish them for blasphemy.

Shortly after this event, all seven sons lost their sanity and scattered to all four corners of the World and any track of them got lost. The father died from deep sorrow for his sons. The only one that remained in the deserted house was the daughter, drowned in grief for her late father and lost brothers, but even she was spared of Gods’ punishment, because she was the one who baked the flatbread. They turned her into a huge snake and decided that she would guard their gold and gems until the moment when young man comes, enough brave to let the snake kiss his forehead.


Many centuries passed since then, the story about the snake-girl slowly became a legend, which is told in the long winter nights. Each spring, on the Hidrelez holiday, the girl would come out from the hole in her new shape repeating the same plea: “Help me! Is there any man, of any faith to let me kiss his forehead, so I would become his wife or sister?” Many knew about her said words but there was no one brave enough to liberate her from the curse and become rich.

But, one spring before the arrival of Hidrelez, a poor young man decided, persuaded by an old woman from the village, to go and let the snake kiss him. – Anyway, as poor as I am, I have nothing to loose, he was encouraging himself. He arrived at down to the hole in the ground, where the snake lived for centuries and waited on her. Soon, from the darkness of the large hole appeared the snake’s huge head followed by her long body. Seeing huge snake before him, the young man got paralyzed with fear. He could not move. But the moment the snake approached him to give him a kiss the young man pushed her and run away. The young man was running thinking that snake would go after him, but something quite different happened. She just looked after him sadly and said: - Let God gives you my sadness and loneliness, and makes you die since I can not!” After that she returned back into her hole. Shortly after this event, the unfortunate young man turned seriously ill and after great pain and suffering he died.    

Feb 2, 2013

Bosnian the Moon Goddess

In accordance with the Old Bosnian believes the Moon Goddess manifested in two forms. The first form was celestial and the second one was a tellurian. In her celestial form the Goddess had the power of magic and healing whilst in its tellurian form she was the goddess of fertility and well being. The text of the old Bosnian Love Chant alludes on her tellurian form, noticeable already in the beginning of the formula “Black Earth Mother, please help me, nor is this charm related to you neither to me, but to my dear…” When Christianity came into Bosnia and after that the Islam, the old cult of Mother Goddess was preserved, thanks to Bogumils, but with time the people forgot the meaning of most of the rituals and customs.

The belief in fairies is the best preserved part of the cult of Mother Goddess, which was kept in the mind of people. It is obvious that the cult could continue to exist only by loosing its religious significance and get a mark of local legends and superstitions. As such, it did not present any threat to monotheism but could have been forwarded from generation to generation. Based upon it, even the titles of Moon Goddess and Mother Earth had been changed into Zlatna (Golden Fairy) and Gorska vila (Forest Fairy). Both of them have been mentioned in the mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The title Zlatna comes from the word gold which reminds of shinning, gloss or better to say the moonlight. The Gorska vila is the same as the Forest Fairy and the late title also refers to earth.

Chant Bosnian witch

What happened to Hasiba B. from a small Northwest village of Bosnia, few years after the World War II, shows the best that the connection between the people and old goddesses never severed. According to her story, once while she was shepherding at the meadow something unusual happened. While walking around she suffered a huge shock for no apparent reason which mostly reassembled the epileptic seizure. She lost the consciousness, her body was completely rigid and she was foaming out of the mouth. The family members found her in such condition and brought her home. Hasiba was lying for three days without consciousness like being in coma. When she woke up on the fourth day, she was completely sound and healthy. That most fascinating thing was that she woke up with the gift of foreboding and healing. Namely, while in coma she was visited by fairies who taught her how to foretell the future by watching into the water, how to perform divination with beans and how to heal the people by ritual of salivanje strahe. The fairies also taught her the various bajalice (oral charms) that she was supposed to pronounce in the healing rituals. One of the most interesting charms is the one related to the magical healing of the Moon.   

If analyzing quite a long text of three bajalice which make a whole, one could write a lot. However for this occasion it is enough to list few interesting ones. The bajalica brings up several times numbers 3 and 9 (3x9=27, which corresponds to the lunar circle), few times word silver, the metal dominated by Moon in astrology, while water as the Moon element is being mentioned 52 times. For better understanding of this text, maybe is good to specify that a year has 52 weeks.   

The fight against the evil embodied in physical and psychological diseases starts by activating of two elements: earth and water and after that the fire. It is important to remember that the forth element of air is present constantly through the breath i.e. the speech of a person who chants or baje. As described in bajalica, during the battle between the earth and water from one side against the evil, the “doors of the earth” are being open whilst the valleys and hills collide. That creates the power which neutralizes the evil. The appearance of the full moon is quoted at the end of the first bajalica.

The second bajalica starts with full moon coming that manifests by the psychical calmness of patient. The full moon waning, the moon phase coming and this change results by Moon giving the water and strength to the patient.  It follows by the next: “the patient was born in the night of the full moon and therefore he eliminated any decease during nine days”, “the night comes to the patient as so the help from the water; as the down comes the following day so the sun will arrive to the patient.” The last verse points out that by arrival of the sun the patient will be relieved of physical issues, such as fear, insomnia and anxiety. After, as the sun goes down in the west so the peace and calmness comes to the patient. On the next night the full moon brings the water as the gift to the patient that heals him for the next nine days. The evil withdraws and disappears as the days pass by. At the very end are mentioned the following: the full moon as well as the moon phase that brings the new moon which makes patient resting and neutralize the negative affects.

At the very beginning of the third and last bajalica it is described the arrival of full moon that brings the health i.e. strength to the patient. The most interesting part in this bajalica is speeding up the moon phases: full moon – moon phase – full moon, whilst element of water is in all verses that follow the moon change. Once again the reborn of the patient is emphasized but this time he is born for the first time during the night of the moon phase and the second time during the full moon. In both cases the moon “gifts” the patient but this time the gifts are three waters and nine days. These gifts have the profound curing effect as described in the following verses: “regenerate its own body; open the eyes; calm the psych; heal the bones and body; the full moon is coming…” In the last 15 sentences it describes exclusively the fight between fire and water, their interaction that bring definite victory over negative influences which caused psychological and physical problems to the patient.  

*Bajalica or magic chant – basma, bajati. The term has its origin in the Azerbaijan language where it represents folk poetry bayati which is in fact incantation- a type of magical poetry intended for sickness, happiness, love, fertility, keeping evil at bay.