LOVE DIVINATIONS OF THE BOSNIAKS
Bosniak girls burnt powder on Jurjevo (Sastavci or Mijena), and watched where the wind would drive the smoke believing that they would marry to a village or town lying in that direction. A custom has been preserved in Orasje up to this day that Bosniaks celebrate Jurjevo. All girls in the village, or at least those who had not been betrothed, would plant onion a few days before Jurjevo.
The girls would take special pains about this onion. A night before Jurjevo the girls would give each onion the name of the boy they liked. When they woke up in the morning, they would look which onion had grown highest. The name of the highest onion stalk was the name of the future bridegroom. The boys used to go around the houses of the girls they liked, eager to hear whether the girls would give an onion their name. However, the girls were cunning, as always, and spoke the names in a whisper so that nobody could hear them. It was not enough just to think of a name; they had to pronounce it aloud. Should they fail to do so, the name of the onion in question would not count. Having seen which onion had grown highest, they had to pick it and in the evening give it to the boy whose name the onion bore. The boys made special preparations for that night. They were all eagerly waiting for a girl to give them an onion.
They would put on their new clothes, especially bought for the dancing-party. In the old days the parties used to start at seven and end by ten; one danced kolos (kolo = a reel dance) and sang the accompanying songs (so called hop-songs), including this one:
O you lad, you young lad!
Rise early, rise early,
hasten to the girls’ gardens,
harness your fiery stallion!
Look, the girls are leaving,
plucking their soothsaying herbs,
choosing their sweethearts,
looking after the horses.
The girls have plucked their herbs,
chosen their sweethearts,
will you eat or throw them
will you detest or savour them!
At the end of the dancing-party the girls would give the boys the respective onion. The boy who accepted the girl who had given it to him had to eat the onion. If he refused to eat the onion, it would mean that he did not like the girl. This rarely happened, but it did happen that a boy got more pieces of onion. Then there was a problem. The next day they would go on living and working as before the Jurjevo, but they were all looking forward to the next Jurjevo.
Informator: Tukulj Abdulah, Orašje, born 1940.