Mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mitologija Bosne i Hercegovine


Tur in the folk calendar

Studying the description of living habits of Tur, especially the one about fertility, I immediately noticed a connection with the folk (agronomical) calendar of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is divided in only two seasons – summer and winter – and in which there is a very interesting segment, which was unclear to me from the very beginning, as a student of BiH ethnology. Namely, it is no coincidence that the Bosnian folk calendar begins when summer ends i.e. in the middle of autumn, when mating season of Tur began, and ends in spring, time when new members of the species are born. That we are talking about such a phenomenon is well demonstrated by the belief in three occurrences called Stablići, Kablići and Štapići, each lasts three days, which sums up to nine days, a lunar number and represents a stap, long wooden bowl in which one “pounded” milk and made butterfat, štap or mećajica i.e. an item which was used to “pound” and kabao – wooden vessel for storage of milk. All three names are closely tied to cattle and signified a very important thing, namely, when a cow brings a calf to this world she becomes lactic, in her udders milk is building up which is used to feed the calf but also members of the family which own the cow. That’s why it is clear that this belief stems from the distant past and is directly tied to the Illyrian cult of fertility and Tur.

Further, Stipčević mentions another interesting part which is directly tied to Tur: “In Donja Dolina, near Sanski Most, during excavations in villages a skull of the bull forefather has been found (Bos primigenius) which was, as Ć. Truhelka believes fastened to façade of the house and had a function of bucrania.”

As an inevitable symbol and bearer of fertility, among our forefathers Illyrians, the bull had a central role in celebration of the harvest, when at the beginning of August the bull was slaughtered in the name of the goddess Grand Mother. In that ceremonial segment of sacrificial offering, Celtic-Persian influence is dominant, through celebration of the pagan circle of the year with the ancient myth about the solar god of fertility Mithra, which the Romans inherited from the Persians. Goths which were at one time mixed with the Illyrians and enriched not only genetically but also culturally-religiously the habit of ancient Bosnians, they saw in Tur much more than an ordinary animal, because of his priceless importance in land tillage, and also the cult of fertility, he was identified with the land, as its guardian and ruler.

Identification with the fertile land, which brings food and maintains the community, its physical strength and endurance and striking look of the horns, elevated Tur in the pantheon to the level of divine being in Bosnian mythology. He becomes a gigantic bull which is holding the entire earth on his back. In that way he rules over the destiny of humans, but also everything else. With that he receives the label of Tur land keeper. But, everything is not only left on the mythological representation and iconography which is evident in certain ethnological records which record the ancient practice of dedicating prayers to this heavenly being, which hasn’t been interrupted with the advent of Christianity and Islam to the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the book “Syncretic elements in Islam in BiH” M. Hadžijahić states an interesting part in which he describes the religious practice: “From a poor elderly lady, Puhalovka Alijaginica which lived in Čebedžije in Sarajevo, I managed to record this: “On Wednesday afternoon prayer is performed and one bows down to: Ognju and Ognjevu Piru, Tur, Hadži Dedi, Hadži Kasapi, Sitoj Nefisi, Vejsil Karanij, his mother and father…” Under the name Oganj and Ognjev Pir is hidden the god of sun (Oganj name for fire) and his son, from mythological notion that the sun is “born” and “dies”, but for this text the name Tur is the most interesting, as we see, he did not disappear from the religious consciousness of the Bosnian people until the middle of the twentieth century, and after that he was mentioned solely as a mythological being which is holding the earth. In the book the author mentions another perfect example about the preservation of the Illyrian religion in Bosnia. Namely, in the village Turovo underneath Jahorina each year a celebration of Vida was held i.e. Ilyrian god Vidasus, which was converted into a saint with the advent of Christianity in Bosnia, and from then on he is worshipped as holly Vid. Tur and Vidasus, with this toponym and somewhat shortened name, actually best represent how well entrenched the Illyrian religion is amongst the Bosnian people.

Illyrian crest has the sign of a half-moon as a symbol of the horn of Tur.

Mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina
<< 07/2016 >>

Bosnian mythology is not Slavic but Illyrian!
When we're talking about Bosnian mythology it is important to clarify instantly the following - Bosnian people are speaking a Slavic language, but this doesn't mean that they are Slavic people, since according to that logic the Mexicans would be Spaniards, Brazilians would be Portuguese and for example the Algerians or Moroccans would be French.

Thesis about the southern Slavs, which is based exclusively on the Slavic language is as it's historically known, a merit of the European colonial forces, primarily Great Britain and Austro-Hungary, which disintegrated Balkan people in order to manipulate them better, they enforced numerous historically catastrophic thesis, primarily about the affiliation to the Slavs!? To demolish this absurd theory it suffices to take a look at the physiognomy of a Russian, which are of a lighter hair colour and skin as a people, shorter, i.e. they're similar to the Germanic people, comparing such a person with for example an Albanian, Montenegrin or for example a Dalmatian, which are of a darker hair, eyes, usually tall, one could then notice an incredible difference in physiognomy, which is crucial in classifying to which nation does a person belong to. We won't even notice genetic research which proved that there is a dominant Illyrian gene present when compared to all others.

But, one of the strategical interests was stimulating nationalism, in order to place this strategically important part of Europe under their sphere of influence, using the primitivism which was traditionally rooted among the Balkan people. In order to more clearly explain what I'm talking about let us remember this historical fact which states: how is it possible that the people of the Balkans, which existed between two great civilizations, Greece and Rome, never managed to achieve a cultural or civilization advancement?! Everything that was created in the previous centuries in this area is a result of all other people besides the Balkan ones, starting from the Romans, Greeks, Germans, Ottomans, Austro-Hungarians. whether we like it or not, the answer is simple - primitivism was always a dominant trait of this part of Europe. History has shown as well as proved that the people which can be manipulated the easiest are primitive ones.

A less known fact among the public is that the Austrian monarchy secretly distinguished Vuk Karadžić, who quickly made some type of dictionary of Serbian language according to instructions of the Monarchy in 1818; the dictionary has no scientific validity, since it is not a result of linguistic research, instead it was created on a geographically small area. The intention was to create foundations of nationalism on whose enthusiasm a surface for conflict will be created between the small nations all with the goal of easier western manipulation over them. In contrast, in Bosnia since 1631 a Bosnian-Turkish dictionary was created by Muhamed Hevai Uskufi, but the dictionary was never a cause for hegemony of Bosnians over other peoples, since the dictionary wasn't created by someone's order but out of love for Bosnia and its people.

This manipulation of Europe over primitive Balkan people was so evident and at the beginning of the twenties of the previous century when the western representatives came at the same time to Belgrade and Zagreb agitating Serbs against the Croats. Namely, western representative would say to the war criminal Slobodan Milošević that he has the right to preserve Yugoslavia from disintegration and in Zagreb that Croatia has the right to independence since it was decided by a folk referendum. In such an abject way they pushed, again playing according to the verified recipe of nationalism, peoples of former Yugoslavia into war, which culminated with genocide in Bosnia.

This is why it is important that we finally become aware of ourselves, our origin, rich history and that we finally stop caring what our enemies write and say about us, we need to value and respect our identity and Illyrian forefathers who are our inseparable part.

Kada govorimo o bosanskoj mitologiji bitno je razjasniti sljedeće - Bošnjaci govore slavenski jezik ali to ne znači da su i slavenski narod, jer po tom pravilu bi onda Meksikanci bili Španjolci, Brazilci bi bili Portugalci a, recimo, Marokanci - Francuzi. Vjerovatno se zbog toga bosanska mitologija dovodi u vezu sa slavenskom ali to je još jedna zabluda. Teza da su pojedina bosanska mitološka bića zapravo slavenska temelji se na narodnim vjerovanjem u vampira (lampir), vještice, vile ili Moru. Odmah na početku treba istaći neospornu činjenicu koja glasi - vjerovanje u vampire je izvorno rumunjsko, nema veze sa Slavenima, mada to vjerovanje srećemo i kod Grka, Turaka, Cigana (mulo) itd. Isto je i sa vilama, vješticama, zmajevima ili Morom (Sukubus). To su izvorno vjerovanja mnogih europskih naroda. U bosanskoj mitogiji nema nikakvog spomena ničem slavenskom, posebno božanstvima, niti su oni kod Bošnjaka poznati. To je danas bar lako provjeriti u Zemaljskom Muzeju u Sarajevu, gdje je pohranjen najveći dio etnološkog materijala BiH. Sve je evidentnije, nakon početnih istraživanja, da bosanska mitologija ima svoje izvorište u ilirskim vjerovanjima a posebno kućnoj zmiji, zaštitniku doma i familije, kultu zdravlja boga Binda, bogu Turu, i pojedinim detaljima o Tani i Vidasusu. Tu su i animistička vjerovanja o žabi, zviždenjaku/salamanderu, izvoru i drvetu kao totemima čovjeka. Naravno, ove se činjenice nikako ne dopadaju hegemonistički nastrojenim sistemima ali to je u suštini njihov a ne bošnjački problem. Naš jedini aktualni problem je nepoznavanje vlastite povijesti, koja je izuzetno duga, i naše bogate kulturne tradicije. Zbog toga trebamo istraživati svoju baštinu i biti ponosni što smo potomci slavni Ilira, hrabrog naroda čije nosimo gene i na kraju dijelimo sa svojom albanskom braćom.


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