Jul 18, 2013

How to steal a birthmark from someone's face?

A birthmark in Bosnia has always been considered a pretty accessory on the body, especially if it was located on a face of a woman. Located near the eyes, the birthmark would make the woman prettier and more attractive and gave her a note of mysticism. In the case of numerous birthmarks on the face or one large birthmark located on the nose or the chin, then it created an opposite effect and made the woman uglier and unattractive.
Since the old times, birthmarks were given magical properties and it was believed that a person born with a birthmark, especially the one with red colour, has an immunity on the effects of black magic. Besides being a blessing , the birthmark can also be a sign of god's punishment for sins. Namely, if the pregnant woman steals something, it is believed that it will be revealed once the baby is born since on the part of the body which she touched after the theft a birthmark will be present on the baby's body at the exact same spot.
A small dark birthmark was since the old days a coveted accessory, especially on the right cheek of a woman. That's why a large number of pregnant women use the state that they are in to steal something small and black from the house that they visit, in order for her child, especially if it is a female, to have the coveted beauty mark on her face. Usually a grain of pepper was chosen as the object that the pregnant woman would steal since it resembled the beauty mark. Immediately after stealing the grain, the pregnant woman would touch her right cheek, close to her eye.
Besides appearing as a form of punishment or intervention of a pregnant woman, the birthmark can also appear on the body as a result of someone's ill intent towards him/her. When a pregnant woman visits a house, her baby is in danger of falling prey to a magic ritual. While the pregnant woman is walking away from the house, a person that wishes ill intent towards her future child, takes a hot coal and throws it after the pregnant woman, without her noticing it, and touches a party of body that he wants the baby to have a nasty birthmark.
According to folk belief a birthmark can be stolen from someone's face?! We're not talking about a plain theft but one done with the help of magic. The conditions for performing this spell are simple, it is necessary for the person whose birthmark one wants to steal to be asleep. The thief takes a warm piece of bread, brakes it in half and brings it close to the birthmark so that the vapour from the fresh bread can cover the birthmark. One needs to hold the bread in place for several minutes close to the face taking care not to wake the individual. If the person wakes up the ritual will fail. However if it succeeds the person eats that bread and soon the birthmark will appear on their face and disappear from the face of the victim. After that, it is believed that the person which had their birthmark stolen will die shortly after the ritual, that's why this ritual was always criticized and classified as a ritual of banned black magic.   

Jul 15, 2013


The use of herbs for medicinal purposes is the oldest form of medicine. The cognition about the medical properties of individual herbs the Bosnian people reached through an empirical method, following particular animals, such as cats and dogs, which would eat an herb when they were sick or injured. In the same manner, humans would use a homeopathic method to compare the shape and colour of a plant with that of a human organ and based on that they reached a conclusion that since the plant corresponds to the organ it must have a positive effect on it.
The knowledge about medical and magic potential of herbs was revealed to individuals by faeries, as the legends claim. Dozens of folk songs speak about the verses that the faeries would utter in order to reveal the medical power of individual herbs. Besides that, one would come across information through magical rituals. One of them is the one of Illyrian descent when one would catch and kill a snake inside a forest and roast her until she turned into ash. That ash would be collected and gathered inside a glass. A person would take that glass and go to the part of the forest where the roosters and human voices couldn't be heard and would place some of that ash under his tongue. Apparently, at that moment the senses of that person would sharpen and that person would be connected with the nature bringing his consciousness in a state of trance. At that moment the person could hear and understand the voices of plants and trees around him and communicate with them.

Since the woman received the role of a mother and someone who takes care of the health of the children and family, from the old days, it is then logical that female deities were more present in those parts of healing where divine power and strength were called forth. When we analyze the list of medicinal herbs we can easily see that most names have a female connotation, which is another verification of the interconnectedness of the female sex and the plant world.
This connection can be seen in the short formula which is still today uttered by numerous stravarke while picking herbs which they intend on using as a magical item or an instrument for concocting a tea or medicine. While picking a specific plant the stravarka utters this formula which is followed by a rhyme in its original form: "I cull this plant from the garden of hazreti Hava (Eve), so that it can be a medicine and of benefit to me as it was to her." As we see from the above in herbal treatments the magic of words is inseparable from the process, the magic is constructed out of formulas of a short content called basme and formulas of a longer content called bajalice. Both of them are a key
component of the magical medicine in whose medicine the rhetorical power of the word is stressed.
Also in love magic a lot of attention is given to the use of specific herbs for which it is known to be a medicine for a "frozen heart". According to the rules of Bosnian witchcraft it is specifically culled between sunsets until midnight, on the eve of Friday, during the new moon.

An ideal example of such practice is the culling of milogled (asarurn europaeum) for whom there is a rule that it can be dug inside a forest with bloody hands on the first Friday of the new moon. Second powerful love herb is the mysterious "fairy grass" (Seseli rigidum?) which can only be found if you place a silver coin on the ground next to a spring. After that a witch would step aside and wait in hiding until the curious faeries show up drawn by the shinny object. At the place where they show up, after they have satisfied their curiosity regarding the silver coin they disappear, one should dig there since the root of fairy grass can be found there. Both roots should be carried on one's naked chest.

fairy grass

Herbs for magic but also for healing is infrequently grown in the gardens if the witches since they believe that the largest magic capacity can be found in "wild" grown (from God) plants especially if it grows in hard to reach places next to a river or a creek. Particularly amazing power is possessed by forest herbs, especially if there is a creek flowing through the forest. In the old Bosnian legends the faeries live inside the forests, and among them the famous Bosnian fairy, with whose song and dance all of the vegetation swells and grows and in special cycles it gains magical powers.

Jul 9, 2013

Ramadan in Bosnia - Ramazan u Bosni

The most important celebratory, ritualized occasions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are Ramadan (Ramazan), Eid al-Fitr (Ramazanski Bajram), and Eid al-Adha (Kurbanski Bajram). These occasions are commemorated with tables overflowing with carefully prepared, often special foods.


Ramadan, the monthlong Muslim fast, is the major event in the Bosniaks (Bošnjaci) ritual calendar. Believers do not eat, drink, smoke, or have sex between sunrise and sunset. Families wake while it is still dark and eat a larger-than-usual breakfest, often including types of dishes served at midday and evening meals. Their evening meals also consist of more dishes than usual and often include dessert, which is not part of everyday meals. Ramadan is a period of intense devotional activity centered in the mosque and with much socializing in homes in the evenings. The evening meals, which break the day's fast, for example, are often shared with friends and neighbors. Eid al-Fitr is the celebration of the end of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha is the commemoration, 40 days after Ramadan, of the saving of Abraham's (Ibrahim) son  through the sacrifice of a lamb instead.


Bosniaks would say prayer together during the day and then invite one another to their homes for iftar meals.
During Ramadan, Bosnians honour takvim, a fasting period between prayers at dawn and sunset (from sehur – brekfast, to iftar – dinner, or better yet, from sabah – dawn, to akšam – sunset). As the Bosnians often say „You sehur at sabah“ – you have breakfast at dawn.