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 Albanian mythology

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Donaton
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PostSubject: Albanian mythology   Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:00 am

Bardha. Figure of Albanian mythology, similar to the zana (q.v.). These white maidens or spirits of the mists, Alb. e bardha, plur.te bardhat, from Alb. i bardhe „white,“ live either in the underworld or up in the mountains. They can harm people if spoken badly of or angry. Should someone inadvertently step on a bardha, she can paralyse him or make him mute. When a rider falls off his horse, it is said that the animal trod on the bardha. People thus endeavour to please the bardha by putting honey, cake or sugar out for them and by saying nice things about them, especially when and where an accident has occurred. The figure of a „white“ spirit corresponds well to the Engl. Elf from IE *albhu – „white“ – Lat.albus „white“ Old Norse alfr „elf“. In Arom. the bardha are known as albile, in Rom. as albele, in Bs. as bijela vila.
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PostSubject: Re: Albanian mythology   Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:08 am

Barefaced Man. Figure of Albanian folk tales and mythology. The Barefaced Man, Alb. qose, def. qosja, from Turk kose „beardless“ – Bs. ćosa, also known as Alb. spano, def. Spanoja, from Gk. „beardless“, is a wily and artful figure, adn, often as a portent of evil, someone to be avoided. There is an Albanian saying „May God protect you from bearded women and barefaced men“. In Albanian folk tales, the Barefaced Man, i.e. a man without a moustache, appears as a cunning devil not to be trusted at all. He is known to the Bosniaks of Bosnia and in folk tales often fulfils the same function as the Scurfhead. (q.v.)
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PostSubject: Re: Albanian mythology   Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:15 pm

Ali Day. Popular custom in Kosova. Ali Day, Alb. Aligjyuni, from Turk. Ali gunu, was marked by Muslims and Christians in Kosova on August 2 as a midsummer feast. On this day, as on August 22, the faithful used to make a pilgrimage to one of the graves of Sari Salltek (q.v.) on Mount Pashtrik (q.v.). these feast is said to commemorate the Muslim imam Ali, though the Christian prophet Elias (q.v.), in his capacity as a god of thunder and lightening, also plays a role. There are, at any rate, always hopes for rain on Ali Day. It was said that at noon., Ali turned into Elias. Thus, the Muslims held their Ali Day celebrations in the morning and the Orthodox celebrated the feast in the afternoon. Ali Day is no longer observed by the Kosova Albanians, being identified more with the Orthodox Slavs and Muslims Bosniaks. Up until the 1980s, however, there were still old people in Kosova who took the morning off from work on Ali Day.
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PostSubject: Re: Albanian mythology   Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:21 pm

Bats. Popular belief. As among the Germans of Transylvania and the Upper Palatinate, bats were interpreted by the Albanians as omen of death. Thus, if a bat flew into a house, it was thought that someone there would die.
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PostSubject: Re: Albanian mythology   Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:26 pm

Bajloz. Figure of Albanian mythology. This huge monster, Alb.bajloz, def.bajlozi, also baloz, def.balozi, usually rises from the sea and exacts tribute in the form of food, wine and young maidens. It will also challenge a hero to a duel. Maximilian Lambertz (1882-1963) has suggested that the word bajloz derives from Ital. bailo, the title of the Venetian ambassador to the Sublime Port, and is thus related to Engl. bailiff. It is unclear what caused this term to take on the connotation of a sea monster in Albanian.
The legend of the sea serpent in the Balkans is ancient. Saint Jerome, recounting the „Life of Saint Hilarion“, states that Hilarion came to Epidaurum in Dalmatia in 365 A.D. to free its people from the scourge of the giant serpent Boas, known to devour cattle and people.
In the Albanian heroic verse cyclo of Mujo and Halil (q.v.), the king of Great Janina feeds many a bajloz: „Many a sea hero does the king feed, / there one sees who is a true hero and who is not.“ This monster is also known as a bajloz i detit 'sea bajloz' or bajloz i zi „swarthy bajloz“.' It is the latter which rises from the sea in the legend of „Gjergj Elez Alia“ (q.v.). A prose extract follows:
As the ninth year passed, word spread that a swarthy Bajloz had arisen from the sea, a mighty and cunning giant, worse than anything that had ever befallen the land. This evil Bajloz demanded of the country a heavy tribute. Every family was to offer up one young maiden and a roast of mutton. Day after day, it continued its bloody course. Week after week it devastated whole regions. It had slain so many warriors that no one had the courage to oppose it, for its cudgel was huge, its sword razor-sharp and its lance able to transfix all beings in its path. The whole country suffered from the evil deeds of the Bajloz.
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PostSubject: Re: Albanian mythology   Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:51 pm

Hair cutting

Popular customs and beliefs. It was formerly believed that cutting one's hair during the new moon would cause it to turn grey. It was also considered inauspicious in Albania to have one's hair cut on a Friday (q.v.).
A child's first haircut was of symbolic significance. According to custom, the godfather of a child, or a friend of the family, Alb.kumbare, def.kumbara, also known as kumbare flokesh „the hair kumbara“, comes to visit when a child is about two years old in order to cut its hair for the first time. During the waxing moon, he snips off four locks of hair and scatters them to the four quarters of the heavens. According to Edith Durham (1863-1944), Muslim often prefer to cut off three locks since „four makes a cross, whereas a triangle is a popular Muslim pattern“.
Ceremonial gifts are then exchanged and a feast follows. The Orthodox Church has integrated this pre-Christian custom into its baptismal ceremony. The Croatian priest Lovro Mihačević O.F.M., who lived in the mountains of northern Albania in the late nineteenth century, described the ceremony as follows:

The godfather, having been invited over, comes by one evening, greets those present, sits down and is served tobacco, coffee and brandy until dinner time. Once dinner is on the table, the godfather sits himself next to the child, from whom he cuts a bit of hair with his scissors, making the form of a cross if the child is a Christian. If the child is a Muslim, he cuts at four different places. With this hair and a bit of wax he makes a ball which he places on a plate with some money as a present. He spends the night at the house and departs the next morning, having been presented with an embroidered cloth or towel from the lady of the house.
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