Mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mitologija Bosne i Hercegovine

27.06.2017.

Birth of dragons in Bosnia

Among the Bosnian people since the ancient times a belief about dragons was present, the dragon not only existed but it sexually assaulted women, but also cows, and out of this unholy union dragon cubs were born – snijet. This unusual belief is traditionally present among the Bosnian people while among Bosnian Christians it doesn’t exist or appears in rare instances.

According to people the dragons loved to stay in woods or hills, flying from one tree to another, sleeping inside caves or bathing in rivers. Namely, it occurred that random passers-by near a river, would hear sudden trashing on the surface of the river and would experience drops of water falling on them. For such sounds it was believed that they were created by a scared dragon which feeling someone’s presence would fly away. Allegedly, while in the water the dragon would go in circles and once bathed it would erect its body and would fly towards the sky.

Gaze of emerald eyes

People describe the dragon as a long snake, over two meters, with very thin and short legs and arms, whose body is covered with dark scales and a tale which is pointy at its end. What is especially characteristic for him are his magnetic, emerald coloured eyes which hypnotise his victim, preventing any and all resistance from it. Often in the past the dragon would lurk young women which went to get water on their own or women which worked in the field alone, he would surprise them with his appearance and he would hypnotise them with his gaze, out of which they would awaken without any memory of the event. But, this strange meeting did not go without consequences because four or more months later the woman, which was hypnotised by the dragon, would give birth to snijet – a dragon cub.

Birth of a dragon

Snijet or Snit got its name among the people by the soft membrane of the chicken’s egg which the chicken can lay when lacking calcium. Numerous ethnologists often made a mistake connecting this folk name of a dragon cub with a corn snijet (corn smut) /Ustilago maydis/ not realising what the informants were trying to tell them.

A few elderly women from which I had an opportunity to hear about the birth of snijet had an identical description of its birth. Namely, since all of them were illiterate and they didn’t know the name for a placenta, they used a folk name for it, what to them seemed to best describe what they see and that is snijet according to the soft membrane of the chicken egg. But, it is an important detail which reveals how snijet was constantly born in a white placenta, unlike a normal human baby whose colour of placenta was always dark red-blue or maroon, out of which the snijet would exit as soon as possible, running out of fear from human contact. According to the informants if in the woman’s stomach only a snijet was present, they would often give birth in their sleep, in the morning they would awaken with an empty stomach. Every night the dragon cub would return to its mother while it was sleeping in order to feed with her milk. Allegedly, such a woman would go to bed with her breasts full of milk and in the morning she would awaken with breasts completely empty.

As we can conclude by studying the ethnological records, but also listening to statements from individual old women, especially the ones which publicly and without hiding claim that in their youth they gave birth to snijet, every Bosnian woman in the past, until WWII, at least once gave birth to a snijet during her reproductive cycle. Because of this claim it wasn’t considered to be a sin to give birth to a dragon cub, moreover, it was considered to be a good deed even to the woman which three times gives birth to snijet entrance into heaven after death is promised. But, it was obviously considered beneficial in case the snijet is killed the moment it is born and buried, without allowing it to escape.

Cannibalism and killing

People firmly believe that all those snijeti which women don’t kill after birth, become dragons. Perhaps this is where the collective fear of Bosnian people lie, if all of the cubs would be allowed to live their population would grow to a dangerous level and it could endanger humans. Women described snijet, after it left the white placenta, as a small hairy creature of a dark colour which resembles a mole the most. It moved fast, climbing up the wall and would screech hysterically.

Sexual attacks by dragons on women occurred, when she would be in the early stage of pregnancy with her husband, and in her womb together, one beside the other, the child and snijet would grow. In certain ethnographic records it is written that a woman would give birth to a live child with a dead snijet on his head, then the child would die as well. Similarly, if both are born alive, and the snijet kills itself, it was believed that the child will die soon as well. According to this it could be concluded that according to folk belief the snijet represented a type of human animal doppelganger.

It looks like a human, but it is not

Fear of snijet, though common to the entire Bosnian folk, was not of the same intensity in all regions, and in certain locations its pronounced influence was recorded. The decisive factor in that was surely the frequency of birth, since in regions where such an apparition was rare, or better hidden and tabooed, it was less present. In Zukići they described snijet as a demonic being “which looks like a human, but wasn’t one”. That description in certain parts of BiH was a result of fear from cannibalism to which snijet was allegedly prone to in the first period of its life, in order to successfully finish its incubation period and exit the woman in the outside world. It was claimed that in certain cases snijet would eat the womb of the woman i.e. it would feed with it. That’s why in Zukići it was believed that the snijet for a pregnant woman represented a great physical and health issue since it would have a difficult time carrying it and giving birth to it.

In this part of Bosnia it was claimed that snijet can only be killed by a washerwoman, a board for washing clothes, after which it would be buried under ground. It is remembered that before WWII in a neighbouring village Kusonje a woman gave birth to a child with eaten fingers on the hand and the feet along with a snijet. For this deformity the snijet was accused, claiming that it ate the child’s fingers, and it was immediately killed by a washerwoman. In other parts of BiH, women would kill it with a broom.

In Pazarić and surrounding areas each time a woman would give birth to a snijet it would be covered up and would be kept a secret, which was usually a traditional taboo in all areas of BiH. Snijet, if it was born dead or if it didn’t manage to escape and save itself, would be immediately wrapped in an old cloth and buried in the ground taking care that no one sees it. A rule that all women across BiH held is that a dead snijet should be buried, whether in the ground or manure, and that under no circumstances should it be thrown in the trash. Was it done out of fear from the possible revenge from the dragon, which is evident, since it wasn’t even recommended for people to talk about dragons, or a certain dose of respect was given towards these mixtures will remain one of the numerous mysteries among the Bosnian folk.

16.06.2017.

Dragon eggs

That nature is surprising is shown by the perfectly shaped stone spheres, discovered accidentally underneath the hill Grljevac in Velika Kladuša. For now three have been “discovered” – the largest one seven meters in girth and weighing 2500 kilograms, a smaller one weighing 1200 kilograms with a girth of three and a half meters, and the smallest one girth of 52 centimetres and 600 kilograms. Because of the shape and composition, as well as the unusual space where they were discovered they attract attention also the mystery of whether they’re natural or manmade pique our interest. For discovery of this oddities from Velika Kladuša the members of the Mountaineering Association of Velika Kladuša are responsible.

President of the Association Šefik Sadiković says: “Though the first spheres were located two years ago, no one knew about them nor spoke about them. Only now, when we located these three did we speak publicly about it. Spheres were located in a creek which created a large canyon due to plentiful rain. Locals of Zborište found the spheres and they drove one into the village using a tractor.” That’s how the story about this phenomenon started.

We are sure that there are more of them in this area, the mountaineers made sure that geologists get the spheres. Geologists Ševket Goletić and Senad Karajić determined that “underneath the spheres a “floor” of the same structure as the spheres was found which means that they haven’t been moved since they were created, and that floor gives greater certainty when determining the way they were created.”

From the Jurassic period

“First estimation direct”, Ševket Goletić believes, “that the spheres come from the Jurassic period and that they were created underneath the surface of the sea. That’s why man has nothing to do with the creation of this phenomenon. That period of creation is called Initial Geosynclinal volcanism, which means that they were created around 30 million years ago.”

“It is known that in this region the Panonian sea was present and that it receded seven million years ago, which means that the spheres were created deep underneath the sea due to volcanic action. During eruptions of the volcano rocks in form of lava were expelled in the sea depths, which created additional blasts and chunking, and with the influence of water and sudden cooling this spherical shape was created covered in a manganese veil which gave the spheres additional firmness”, he adds.

According to the first estimations, the content of these rocks is made out of more elements: titan, zircon, vanadium, barium and nickel, which points to the sediment origin from the basic rocks. The surface is smooth and perfectly polished, and it is hard to assume that they could be a work of man which at the time possessed primitive tools. Otherwise, Goletić and Karajić recall, similar spheres were found in other areas as well.

“So”, they say, “they’re numerous in western Mexico, but they’re also located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mostly around Zavidovići. And they’re most similar to the ones located in Zavidovići. They’re also located near Stari Majdan in municipality of Sanski Most in the north-western part of BiH.”

Mysterious spheres

Mountaineers say that the spheres were most likely “discovered” earlier, but no one spoke of them. It is assumed that the legends and stories imposed a type of silence. One that, for the people living in these areas – spurred the imagination of the inhabitants about the mysterious spheres.

One of the legends says that the spheres are actually eggs of an ancient dragon and according to folk belief we shouldn’t disturb them. That’s where the answer to the question of why no one spoke about them lies. However, out of curiosity the inhabitants broke them, and determined that the interior is made out of stone. Certain findings say that they were brought home, namely the parts of the sphere. Even built in the foundation of the houses. Later they would be unearthed and placed back to their original location.

In these numerous legends, stories and speculations, there is a theory which claims that they’re meteors which fell a long time ago in this area or that they’re the work of some ancient and unknown civilization. However, mountaineers from Velika Kladuša sought help and analysis of the Mining-geological faculty from Tuzla. While they’re waiting for an answer and debunking of the mystery about the creation of this phenomenon – they went into action.

16.06.2017.

How the snake saved all life

From the old days among the Bosnian people the snake was considered to be a saviour of mankind, which is proven by this short story. During distressful times, when general floods raged and everything hid in Noah’s ark, days and nights passed in fear for the future. Even the wild beasts were so frightened that they didn’t even think about hurting one another, their cruelty disappeared and all souls thought alike – hope in salvation. But, only one animal among all didn’t feel fear nor hope, it was ruled by evil and selfishness. It was a mouse. Being led solely by his own desires and needs the mouse started nibbling the bottom of the ark, not thinking that he is endangering everyone on it. Luckily, the snake saw him at the last moment, realising what disaster may strike the snake leaped, swallowed the mouse and curled at the place where he nibbled the wood, in order to stop the water from breaking in. Since then, in Velika Kladuša it is believed that it is not a sin to kill a mouse even from a prayer mat, while praying to god.

16.06.2017.

Shaitan and the woman

Long time ago there was a man and a woman, they constantly tried to outsmart each other, they tried to prove who was smarter and more resourceful. Neither of them wanted to quit, and these pranks of theirs would last forever until the man came up with a bold idea. He suggested that it would be best for them to compete who could talk the devil into entering a hollow pumpkin where they could trap him.

-The devil (Shaitan) is a liar and a scrappy, no one can fool him, and whoever succeeds is the smartest, said the husband to his wife.

In this almost impossible task the husband tried first, trying all day in various ways to trick the devil. He begged him, promised hills and valleys, but to no avail. Night came and he got tired and gave up. The wife smiled and took the pumpkin from him, looked inside and started to wonder, her eyes widened, inhaling and smiling to something that she sees inside. This immediately sparked the devil’s curiosity but he didn’t want to react he waited for the woman to start to gaud him as the husband did. But the woman didn’t even look at the devil, looking into the pumpkin she started to switch it to her right eye so that she can see better the thing that amazed her. Now, the devil was evidently nervous and curios, not being able to wait any longer, he asked the woman what is so amazing inside, she mumbled something quickly and continued to look into the pumpkin. This angered the devil and he shouted at her, to which the wife replied calmly and mellifluously:

-It would be best, powerful and great devil, that you go inside and take a look by yourself, since myself, illiterate, poor woman – the woman started to act and fake – couldn’t describe what type of wonder is inside. And you my dear devil, are so eloquent and very smart, you will recognise this thing immediately.

To these words the devil laughed haughtily and answered to her that he agrees with her, since a stupid woman like herself doesn’t know better than to look into a pumpkin and laugh, and it is best for him to see. As soon as he said these words the devil rushed and entered the pumpkin to which the woman quickly closed it and in the end won the hard bet. Since that time it is believed that a woman and the devil are one and the same – both use lying and seduction to get their will.

04.06.2017.

Snake-girl

There is an interesting legend among people from Velika Kladuša about a buried treasure in the settlement of Rudnik, which is allegedly guarded for centuries by an immortal giant snake. This legend begins like this: during the time of the Roman occupation of the Illyricum in the area of today’s Velika Kladuša a Japodean family lived there – a father with seven sons and a daughter. Their lives were full of everyday chores and work until one day out of wrath and boredom the brothers placed a piece of bread on a large stone and they competed who will be the first to hit it with a spear. Horrified by this sacrilege the father tried to reason with them not to do it, but young and willing to prove themselves, the son’s didn’t listen to him, until the moment something happened which scared them – blood started to flow from the bread. Seeing this, the father wept in a desperate voice, holding his head and gazing towards the sky:

-You spilled blood! The Gods will curse you and punish for your craziness, the scared, poor man repeated.

Not long after that incident the weeping father died and the son’s one by one left the home without a trace. The only one that was in the deserted house was the daughter, since she couldn’t find the strength to leave the graves of her parents. In her sorrow and loneliness the wrath of gods hit her though she was innocent, and she was turned into a giant snake. In that form she was given a task to guard their gold and precious stones in a deep hole in the ground, until the moment someone strong and brave appears and stands in front of her and allows her to kiss him in the forehead, between the eyes.

A lot of time has passed since then, a lot of centuries, but the memory of the curse of the Illyrian gods and the large snake-girl, guardian of the unseen treasure, stayed in the legend which the old people from Kladuša transferred from one generation to the next to the young, warning them to respect the bread which feeds them. The legend in long winter nights woke up a desire among the young to be brave enough to stand in front of the giant snake, so that she may kiss them, which means that they would be immensely rich and that they would get a loving wife Every spring around the Mijene (May 6th) the giant snake-girl would exit at dawn from the depths of the earth and she would wallow in a sad voice.

-Oh, help! Are there any males, Muslim or Christian, to come to me, to allow me to kiss him between the eyes so that I may be a wife or sister. I will give him all the gold!

Everyone knew about her lament but rare were those which dared to head towards her, they were never brave enough, and so through centuries the girl-snake had less and less hope that she will ever be free of the horrible curse.

Persuaded by a stravarka a poor lad decided to head to the snake, around a hundred years ago. He waited patiently for the phase and one night, before dawn, he headed towards Rudnik, threading carefully through the forest. During the road he consoled himself that poor as he is he has nothing to lose even if the plan goes wrong. Suddenly in the darkness he heard a sorrowful female voice how it pleadingly called for a brave human heart to come and save her. He carefully came to the place where he heard the voice and suddenly a silence befell him, he stood, scared waiting to see what would happen. Suddenly in the darkness two eyes shined and the head and entire body of the giant snake appeared, such that the human eye has never seen. Frozen out of fear the young man watched the giant snake approach him looking into his eyes. At the moment when the snake was close to his head his bravery gave up on him completely, he pushed her away and started running as far as his legs could take him. The snake looked at him sadly and uttered:

-May you suffer as I do, may you die when I cannot!

Uttering that curse she disappeared in the darkness, receding into its lair. Soon the boy died and no one knew of what. From that time no one heard that sad cry of the snake-girl.

Mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina
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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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