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 Bosnian mythology

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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:38 pm

Zrikavac is a nocturnal demon which is described in Bosnian mythology as a vratilo (long stick) but it has the ability to transform and it often transforms into a bird or cat. Zrikavac is especially active at dawn and after sunset. With its call it causes fear in humans. According to folk tradition on one occasion an old man went to the river Bosna and there he heard a commotion, it was audible in the entire village. When he approached the place where the horrible sounds came from he saw a black cat. The animal started screaming even louder, and the old man went deaf from it. In the vicinity of Visoko, in places Hasin Potok and Kužni Dol, it was believed that a demon-like creature was living there. If someone heard the sound of zrikavac at night he shouldn't try to imitate the sound or to mock it, such behaviour angers the demon and he mounts the human and forces the human to carry him the entire night, until the first roosters crow.
Zrikavac is a demonic creature which has similarities with other demons of Bosnian mythology such as Karanđoloz, Meknjače, Naletnjak; so we can presuppose that all evil spirits have similar characteristics.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:33 pm

Wild grandma: in Bosnian mythology it is believed that in every chasm in the ground a wild grandma lives who has her kitchen utensils in the underworld and that she does the jobs that women do in the real world. Legend says that a sheepherder threw a stone into a chasm in the ground and soon he heard a threatening woman's voice: "If my hand's weren't covered in flour I would come out and I would punish you!" Belief in the wild grandma is a remnant of previous beliefs in pagan Bosnia when this mythological character represented a female demon or one of the goddesses of nature which controlled weather. In favour of it speaks the belief that every wind is born out of large chasms in the ground and still today one can hear from the old Bosniaks that when there is a wind blowing one should go and place a large stone on the openining of the chasm and that the wind will stop blowing.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:38 pm

Krkleri

In Sarajevo there was a belief that the one who wishes to see Dobre should go to Obhodža, on the eastern periphery of the city, or to a grave of a Šehid (martyr) or ascetic and to pray for his soul there. Then Krkleri will appear to him, forty Dobri, clad in green clothes, which, before dawn, rush one after the other to the morning prayer in the mosque.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:41 am

Green čovuljak ( Zeleni čovuljak)


When the summer rains pass and the level of river Bosnia falls, on one part of the river's course, a few round rocks appear. Each one of them, according to folk belief has its specific name: Zelenjak, Kusovac and Herdekovac.
According to mythological stories underneath the rock Zelenjak lives a scary dwarf, with big eyes and green skin, which is named by the people, since the old days, green čovuljak (little man). He is an evil water creature, a scary creature, which stalks lone swimmers, especially children, hidden in the brush close to the shore or underneath the water's surface. As soon as he spots a lone child swimming in the river he darts towards him, he enchants the child with his hypnotic powers and drags him to the bottom of the river, where, according to belief, his chambers are located. There are not many individuals who managed to escape the death embrace of this peculiar monster and share their traumatic experience with others.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:41 am

Ćosa


There are men who never grow a beard or moustache, they remain ćosavi, and that's why among the Bosnian people called Ćose, according to a Turkish expression for a beardless man. It is believed that they are not sexual people and that's why they never get married, but they are well regarded among the youth, since according to belief, they bring good luck to those that are in love and they fulfil hidden hopes. They are often adorned with a velvet voice and they are able to sing lavishly.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:50 pm

Aždaha

Another mythological being about which there are a lot of stories and beliefs in Bosnia is Aždaha which is described by people to be fat and round as a stump, it can devour a goat, has no wings and can be heard when an hour away. "Wherever it comes it will create havoc or evil". According to mythology aždaha which devoured the sun was called Sap. A long time ago there were three suns in the sky and the aždahe which lived in the lake ate two and cut into the third one. People shot cannons at them in vain. Then a gypsy came and said: "Don't do it like that, slaughter a hundred sheep, skin them, fill them with plaster and throw them into the lake in order for aždaha to come out." When they threw plaster the aždahe thought it was a sheep, they ate them and died.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:51 pm

Three demonic beings which were used to scare people are karanđoloz, kučibaba and psoglav. Karanđoloz is a dark demon from the Turkish folklore about which there is a belief in Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is believed that he wears an iron shirt and that he smells horribly. Karanđoloz has a habit of jumping on one's back at an intersection in order to be carried around. He is a nocturnal being and appears only then.



Psoglav

Psoglav (doghead) is a mythological being of Bosnian Orthodox which stems from Russia. It is described as a human being with legs of a horse and the head of a dog. It has teeth of steel and an eye on the middle of the forehead. It is used to scare disobedient children.


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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:53 pm

The wealth of Bosnian mythology is certainly reflected in numerous names for various beings from the folklore such as guzenzuba, previdi, more, leptirice, plakavac, div, buka, kučibaba, kamenica... Though Bosnia and Herzegovina is a relatively small country often a few names signify one mythological being such as bird-child soul called Plačo, Plakavac, Buka, Meknjača, or for example name for a witch: leptirica, naletnica, sihirbaza, guzenzuba, etc.
Certain mythological beings are tied to geographically small areas such as kamenica and are therefore relatively unknown or there is only mention of them in folk stories. Such is the case with divovi (giants) which among the Bosnian people exist solely in folk tales and stories (Folk short stories, author Munib Maglajić, Esma Smailbegović, Svjetlost, 1978) where cannibals are described while in folklore there is no mention of any memorable giants or a belief about them. But, when we talk about stuhe or zduhači it is very interesting to mention the data that in BiH, where we come across a widespread belief in stuhe or zduhače, together with border territories of Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia, we can find tombstones. This information is very important since it leads to a conclusion that stuhe or zduhači were probably guardians of tombstones, which was modified after the Middle ages into the belief that stuhe are guardians of a place. In the parts of Bosnia where there are no findings of tombstones there is no mention of stuhe nor mention of a local zduhač, no matter the religious affiliation.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:35 pm

Kučibaba or Baba kukača

Among the Bosnian Catholics and Orthodox there is a belief in a grandma with a hook, which is called kučibaba or grandma kukača. This mythological being was used to scare little children to prevent them from approaching a well or the bank of a river since they could be caught by the grandma with her hook and they could be pulled towards her.

Behind the name kučibaba a Russian female demon is hidden called Baba Jaga, which is among the Russians identified as a cannibal witch since she feeds off the flesh of children which she catches and kills. In certain legends it is considered that she is the protector of streams and running water, which is why she is connected with streams and water in general in stories of Bosnian Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

Though the belief in kučibaba (Baba Jagi) is not present among Bosniaks, it is interesting to note that they told stories of Grandpa and Grandma (Did i Baba) to their children, Bogomil priest and his wife, in the form of humorous stories. Therefore extremely popular were the stories of the Grandpa sending the Grandma to the stream to get some water in a griddle and the Grandma cooked a bitch instead of a chicken out of revenge, etc. Such stories stemmed from the middle ages and as we can see they were transferred generation through generation.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:54 pm

People and angels

Fascination produced by the emergence of a new life always inspired human imagination and created in such a way imposing legends and stories. Among the Bosnian folk we come across a whole spectre of traditional beliefs which were first of all based on mythology and which in a sense reveal divine origin of humans.

To a woman giving birth, according to legends, all bones in her body separate except the ones in the jaw, because without them the child wouldn't be able to exit her. Because of such a state she needs to rest for a full 40 days after birth, in order for her body to completely cleanse and regenerate. Besides, a young mother is then "weak as a bird on a branch" and is exposed as her child, to demon attacks which resist creation of new life.

Even in traditional belief about dangers which prey on a young mother, and especially her child, we glimpse divine status of a pregnant woman, which is creating new life in her womb, as well as the supernatural origin of life. Invisible beings and apparitions such as demons, faeries, witches, spellbound eyes, which represent threats, can be easily brought to the same level as the child which decided to join the world of humans from their world of darkness, concealed from human eyes. This procedure probably creates a feeling of anger and revolt and that's why they are trying to hurt it.

Before a child exits, angels promise to hand over senet to him, i.e. written confirmation that he will never die, he will remain immortal, since without it he wouldn't leave his mother's womb. But, during the moments the child is exiting angels suddenly strip him of senet and that's why the child is crying, since it became aware that it is no longer immortal.

A woman which dies during childbirth goes, according to belief, straight to heaven while if the child dies, without tasting her mother's milk, it will become a winged angel. Deceased children in mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina are turned into mysterious night birds which are called Plačo or Meknjača. Actually, we could conclude that all the pain the mother feels is transformed into the concept of the bird, symbol of the soul, which sorrowfully calls to its mother. Sometimes, the pain of the deceased child is so great that it attracts death, therefore it is believed among the folk that once a Meknjača is heard that someone in the vicinity of it will die.

It is claimed that the children are like angels until they open their mouth to speak. They lose that lovely characteristic as soon as they can talk since then they can utter both the bad with the good words. But, as the legend from Bosnian mythology claims angels never leave a humans side. Namely, every human has two angels; one is sitting on his right shoulder and the other on his left one. The one on the right shoulder is writing down his good deeds, and the one on his left his bad deeds. Similarly, angels take care of the human and protect him from evil. Folk song narrates that a father threw down the tower his wrongfully accused daughter, three times, to see if she did wrong, but every time she was saved by her angels and nothing bad happened to her:

He took Tidža by her white hand,

and threw her down the tall tower,

Hatidža was saved by angels

She didn't break her hands nor legs.

Legends say that in the ancient history children, just like animal cubs, could walk as soon as they were born. The same thing would be taking place today, the legend claims, if it wasn't for one instance where a scared mother wept and complained when she saw that her child had fallen to the ground. From that day on, God decreed that children won't be able to walk as soon as they are born but that they will have to learn how to walk.
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