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 Wheat and bread in the tradition of the Bosnian people

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KomentarNaslov komentara: Re: Wheat and bread in the tradition of the Bosnian people   Wheat and bread in the tradition of the Bosnian people Icon_minitimeWed Jul 31, 2019 11:49 am

autor: Raif Esmerovic


The old Bosnian prophecy suggests that 40 years before the Day of Judgment, the sheep, bees and wheat, three heavenly gifts will disappear from Earth.

Despite the fact that scientific-research data on the beginnings of cultivation of wheat and the appearance of bread still complement the new knowledge, we still have enough relevant facts today to create a very clear picture of the genesis and evolution of the most important food of mankind.

According to Wikipedia, "wheat (Triticum spp.) Is a type of cereal originating from the Levantian and Middle East areas. Archeological finds indicate that the domestication of wheat occurred for the first time in areas known as the "Fertile Crescent" Wheat breeding began to spread beyond the "Fertile Crescent“ only after 8000 BC. Jared Diamond studied the spread of cultivated varieties of twin wheat, begun in the "Fertile Crescent" about 8800 BC. Archaeological analyzes of wild twin wheat showed that it was first cultivated in the southern regions of Levant, where its remains dates back to about 9600 BC. Genetic analysis of wild twin wheat suggests that it was first cultivated in Karaca Dağ mountains in southeastern Turkey. Archaeological remains of single-grain wheat in the excavations of settlements near the area, including those at Tell Abu Hureyre in Syria, indicate that the domestication of twin wheat occurred near the Karaca Dağ mountain range."


Sour bread

Archeologists found in their diligent research, human traces that found material evidence of primitive practices that they described as a process of pressing stones of wheat grain. The aforementioned technique, which was aimed at extracting the pulp, i.e. the grain interior, dates back to 30,000 years before the new era, and served the people at that time to consume it raw or dried, as they followed the traces of wild animals. According to experts, 7,000 years BC, in the time of the so-called Neolithic Revolution, people began to discover the bread that we know today. It was the time when people began to discover agriculture and cattle breeding, which resulted in permanent settlements, breeding and grain picking of wild wheat. It all happens in the area of today's Iraq, between the two rivers of Tigris and Euphrates. In Egypt, grain growing occurs around 5000 years BC, when the level of Nile has decreased sufficiently to allow people to live in the long river valley.

Since the development of a letter in Iraq appears only about 3000 years before the new era, it is only possible to speculate on the exact timing of a loaf of bread. But the first discovered clay tiles in places such as Sumer clearly show that the sowing of wheat, harvest and bread production was then firmly established.

Archaeological studies have led to the realization that the people at that time used to grind grains of wheat and this was converted by the primitive process into flour. They would add some water and honey and leave it in the air to create mushrooms of yeast, as a result of which it expanded and got the volume. The processed dough would burn on a heated stone, and in the end it would get the so-called sour bread.
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Mythical aspect

Wheat, as a seed of life, has always been compared to a woman. evidenced by the lengthy list of divinities dedicated to it, which in itself leads to the conclusion that from the earliest times, traditionaly, women have been engaged in the production of bread. In some legends, the grain of wheat are the tears of Universal Mother, who blesdes with them the Earth and provided a food for their children.

In ancient Mesopotamia, the goddess of wheat is Ashnan, near the Sumerian goddess Nidab, who was also the deity of writing, and the patron of the city of Eresha. According to Greek mythological traditions, all cereals were consecrated to Demetri, while with the Romans, Ceres had this privilege. The Egyptians celebrated Tenenet, the goddess of bread, but the birth as well. The cult of wheat did not bypass Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thus, the Roman historian Pliny states that our ancestors Illyrians worshiped an unnamed goddess to whom the women offered a gift of wheat grain.

Wheat and bread in the tradition of the Bosnian people Peenic11

As early as 3000 years ago, the bread on the European continent deservedly gained its central place in religious ceremonies, due to the indisputable fact that it was the main food for most of the then people. In metaphorical meaning, bread was the most authentic divine gift of human kind. And by that, it was an indestructible symbol of survival. In accordance with all of the above, his socio-cult role is most remarkably represented in the rituals of sowing and harvest, which is the basis of the Pagan celebration of Wheel of the Year, which symbolizes the threshing floor itself, through the cyclical marking of eight festivals old religion nature. This was especially highlighted by the celebration of the beginning of the light of the year; on the night between April 30 and the first May - Beltaine.

Bread known as bannock played a key role in glorifying this great pagan holiday. The central part of the ceremony was based on the burning of holy fire on the holiday night with the intent to protect the domestic cattle. On the heat of the blazing fire, the cattle-breeders would bake bannock to which prophylactic power was attached. By sharing and consuming bannock, the human community was thus interconnected in the night of the festival as well as with its divinities. Literally, as many times before, through the consumption of bread, the ancient alliance of man and the God of Sun was confirmed.

The use of bread, as sacred matter, is also found in the solar cult of the Persian god Mithra, which was born by the virgin goddess Anahita on December 25th. Mithrini rituals included baptism, communion, and secretive meal including bread, water and wine. The Romans, as the founders of Christianity, fully assimilated all the myths and rituals of the Persian cult and transformed it into the faith of Jesus.

It is interesting to note that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the area of Jajce, there is a Mithra temple constructed during the Roman occupation of Ilirikum.
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KomentarNaslov komentara: Re: Wheat and bread in the tradition of the Bosnian people   Wheat and bread in the tradition of the Bosnian people Icon_minitimeThu Aug 01, 2019 4:04 am

The traditional role of bread in Bosniaks

Said the other: "I see myself carrying a bread on my head, and birds are eating, myself." (Qur'an: chapter Yusuf, vers 36.)

Among linguists, the Bosnian term kruh (bread) is assumed to be derived from the Arabic word khubzte, which by adaptation, like many other Oriental terms, is adapted for easier pronunciation. Another good example is the Persian name Bagha from which, by permutation, our word with the same meaning was created - Bog (God).

In addition to this noun, some other nouns in Bosnian language are used for this word, such as hljeb (bread). This noun is also in everyday linguistic use, and somun or nimet, traditional terms relatively present to a lesser extent and exclusively in the older population and more evident in rural areas.

Traditionally, bread is divided into three types: wheat bread or somun bread (with yeast), corn bread or koruza, and pogača- without yeast. In addition, a bun may be added, which varies in appearance between bread and baked noodles, a kind of bun that the housewives bake in the stove. A few days later, if necessary, they can easily and quickly make a pie. It should also be emphasized that somun is not a bun, but the name for homemade round bread, at least in the area of ​​northwestern Bosnia.

Wheat and bread in the tradition of the Bosnian people Somun11
somun

We could also add maslenica (masnica, maslenjak) to this list, which is actually accompanying today’s puff pastry, and if bread runs out, many use it at lunch as a substitute for bread. In Velika Kladus and Cazin, it is known as „kisela masnica“, which is prepared so that the bread dough is aligned (rolled to a smaller width, topped with oil and cream and overlaid as in the standard procedure for maslenica. Then, let the dough swell in the pan and then it's ready to bake.
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The ancient power of grain

But before we devote ourselves to the customs associated with this primary food, it is necessary to bring out at least a few folklore beliefs about wheat itself, one of the three holy gifts of paradise.

According to the testimony of Hasiba P., from Velika Kladusa, a vital and long-lived old woman who never visited a doctor in her life. As a young girl, she adopted from her mother-in-law the custom of putting one grain of wheat in each pot after each of her five daily prayers. When she collects exactly 100, she bathes, and then pours lukewarm water into that jar of grain and bathes in that water. After getting dressed, the grains are picked up from the bottom of the tub and tossed to the birds to eat.

Another interesting story about the marvelous powers of wheat grain I learned, and of course wrote, some twenty years ago from Mrs. Rasima L., the granddaughter of the main character of this true story. During the Second World War, livestock was killed as a result of frequent shelling, especially sheep in pastures. At that time of poverty and scarcity such loss was immensely difficult for many families. Following his grandmother's advice, Rasimin's father, at that time a boy, tied a small wrap containing three grains of wheat to each sheep. Coincidentally, or by some miracle, not a single sheep died afterwards, while their neighbors did.

The prophylactic power of wheat in northwestern Bosnia has always been well known especially because, according to popular legend, Mujo Hrnjica wore a sewn bag of nine grains of wheat on the right side of his suit. The amulet kept him faithfully until his enemies found out about her. That amulet was stolen the day before the death of Bosnian Hercules.

A short paper on folk medicine entitled "Herbal and Miraculous Healing According to Mustafa Muhibbi's Manuscripts of Sarajevo Kadija" outlines the traditional treatment of wheat grains in combination with Islamic science.

On the night of Friday, or day, 1000 grains of wheat are taken and Ihlas is prayed one at a time over each. The grain is taken to the sermon after the prayer on Fridays, and then spread on the roof of the mosque for the birds. As it spills, it is said:

Make the disease disappear in the NN (patient name) as this grain disappears into the bellies of the birds.


Undoubtedly, wheat grains here assume the role of a particular sacrifice or offering that symbolically pays for healing. We find similar ritual practices in the cult of the dead. An example to support the above was recorded in northwestern Bosnia (Velika Kladuša, Cazin, Bužim) where it used to be a custom, that after the dead was taken out of the house, at the place where he lay to put a pot of wheat, which some of the household, after burial, take to the poor house and give as alms.

Of course, this is not the only example where grains have taken on the sacrificial role of dead or even evil spirits, as documented in the practice cited by Muhamed Hadzijahic (Sarajevo mosques in folk tradition) where the author writes:

The people believe that the treasure can be dug only when it is done, determined by the one who buried the treasure. In our narrative it is stated that blood should be released. According to other news, digging treasure should be done, what he did the one who buried the treasure (for example, it fell off, and even the one who excavates the treasure has to untie the belt, because otherwise the treasure would sink, and he would never be able to pull it out). it stood slightly but must be filled with grain or whatever.
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Salt and bread

Salt and flour are inseparable from one another in the tradition of our people, where they are elevated to the divine pedestal, because of their immeasurable importance in daily life and nutrition. Therefore, they deserve and occupy a central place in certain ritual practices of invoking prosperity and protecting them from harm.

It is noticeable that in a certain way in the folk religion salt represents the sky and bread represents the earth.

So, in order to ward off storms, especially hail and ice, old women in the Gracanica area bring a trivet (sadzhak) out, turn it upside down and put a spoonful of salt on it.

Wheat and bread in the tradition of the Bosnian people Image135

Sadzhak metal tripod, on which in a wood stove (in a bakery or oven) was placed a pan in which bread or pie was baked.

In pursuit of this assumption, in my research I came across the following divination formula of extremely interesting content, in which, through the appointment of Hazrat Fatima, the substitute for the Great Mother, they connect (swear) salt and bread:

Hazrat Fatima,
swear to the earth, the sky,
the salt, the bread,
help the one who needs it to fulfill his wish.


However, in the rich tradition that has been cherished by our people for centuries, there have been some examples where the merging of salt and bread into one component was avoided. The Herald of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina published a short ethnological paper entitled "Dashes from the People", in which the author describes a somewhat strange custom of unsalted bread among Bosniak people in Herzegovina. The reason for this was the fear that if the taboo was not respected, the disease could hit domestic livestock.

- This is what H. Abdaga Tolic, a landlord from Mostar, told me, and among other things, he tells me that these spells were held firmly by old women. Among other things, he told me about a Muslim house in Mostar, in his neighborhood, in which bread is never salted for the purpose of not killing domestic livestock. This was later confirmed to me by Ibraga Cisic, a landlord from Mostar. He knows, too, that the old women adhered to that belief, so he told me about a house in Mostar, in which even today unsalted bread is eaten for the same,  already mentioned, purpose.

The described belief is not found in other parts of Bosnia, at least not in such a recorded form, and it can therefore be concluded that it was of a local character.

However, it is assumed that among our people, salt was dedicated to some divine being or spirit, presumably the protector of domestic livestock, such as the mythical Tur, and that it was given to him, much like the peel of peeled fruit to the Great Heavenly Bird (Huma).

Following on from this assumption, it would be interesting to present the belief from Velika Kladusa where old women still believe that they had done a good deed if,  by accident, they forgot to add salt to the flour in the preparation of bread.

We should also mention the custom in which salt is used for the purpose of frightening a witch who would appear in the form of a butterfly at night (with the magic formula: "Come tomorrow, and let me give you salt!") and in her appearances she regularly aimed at domestic cattle. especially a cow, which according to the people would "feed half the house."
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The marvelous powers of God’s gift

In the classical conception, all that is considered sacred and divine is bounded by various taboos, in order to emphasize the importance of what is revered. When a discussion begins, especially justification, then the one who defends himself points his hand at the bread and says: "I speak the truth, I swear on this beautiful gift of God!"

Probably because of its sacred status, it has always been considered a great sin to walk on bread crumbs, and one of the punishments is the possibility of "ograjiše" or "nagazi", that is, attracting physical or mental illness.

According to the traditional custom, the housewife would always put bread first on the table (sinija or sofra), while serving lunch or dinner, and then other dishes, thus marking it as primus. The sanctity of wheat and bread as the final product is also reflected in the popular belief that the sofra or sinija should not be shaken, “because angels hold it with their hands”. The great grandparents in the northwest of Bosnia had great respect for the dining table, which can be argued through the custom of getting rid of the one who laughs or scoffs at the dinner table during the lunch. The host would literally chase him by saying: "Get away from my dining table, thief and enemy!" Here is a very clear identification of the elder of the house (host) with the sofra and the gift of God that is on it.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, it has been believed since ancient times that if one of the household members eats bread outside of the home, walking down the street, it will bring bad luck to the house. Supposedly, if only one drop of rain falls on that piece of bread, he will no longer be in the house. Poverty and scarcity will prevail in that house. If one of the elders would meet such a person on the street, they would shout at him: "Why bring a misfortune on the house? Didn't you have time to sit at the table and eat that piece of bread, the God's gift?"
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The cult of the Great Mother

Bread has also found its ritual application in magic rituals for preserving marriage. Apart from the emphatic suggestive form, these ritual practices are the best confirmation of the thesis that women, from the very beginning, played a dominant role in the process of making bread and maintaining the cult of the Great Mother personified through the numerous goddesses of ancient times.

Wheat and bread in the tradition of the Bosnian people Image142

Old Bosniak women once believed that if they used their bare hands to remove bread from baking bell (sač) and spread the embers, that by this risky act and by unambiguousl sacrifice, they would gain magical power in appeasing an aggressive husband.

- "On one occasion, a woman was removing bread from a baking bell, and with her bare hands she quickly folded those ashes and embers on the hearth. - What are you doing, you're gonna burn your hands! "Let me go, I must, I'm miserable. I don't want a hearth as angry with me as my husband! If I hug the embers of bread, then my husband won't be mad at me anymore! "

Ritual practices related to hearth and bread (wheat) undoubtedly stem from Illyrian shamanism whose legacy, through many traditional beliefs, is inherited by the Bosnian people. And some other recorded magical beliefs associated with the hearth allude to the cult of the Universal Mother, imbued with witchcraft, preserved by women through many centuries, precisely through such and similar ritual acts. It also reveals a certain feminist resistance against the patriarchy, and the evolutionary struggle of women for equality, and even the hidden desire for domination as it once existed in the Illyrian matriarchy. As evidence of this, it would be interesting to cite the continuation of the recorded conversation:

- "When my husband goes to his mistress, I take a piece of bread and put it in my mouth, then I go into the oven, and loudly summon his name through the chimney. Then he must leave the mistress at once and return home to me, otherwise he would be overwhelmed with anxiety and restlessness."

The fact that bread is considered sacred, and therefore magical, represents the belief that dried breadcrumbs can be used as a substitute for incense, if not present, to allow the amulet to slip through the smoke several times or smoke over. In the past, this was often the practice of the old poor Hodja’s and others who used to write talismans and amulets.
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Bread as medicine

In my opinion, that well-known Bosnian ritual of chasing away an evil fate or accident by knocking on a tree actually has its origins in ancient custom with housewives who checked whether bread was baked in the oven. Specifically, they would knock the curled finger over the surface of the bread (crust), so if it sounded hollow, it would mean that the bread was baked. As wheat and bread in our nation are associated with the holy and the divine, that is, God Himself, knocking on a hard surface imitated the very knock in the crust of bread- the desire for God’s protection was signaled.

Probably for this reason it is "not good" to turn the bread upside down on the crust, because it is blasphemy and entails an adequate punishment, or suspicion of evil and poverty.

Bread is, because of everything written so far, a true symbol of God's blessing. The bride enters her new home by carrying Qur'an under one hand and bread under the other. And in doing so, one equates to the other in its importance. Also, in Bosniak wedding customs, the newlyweds "break the cake" and on this occasion one looks at who has a larger piece in their hand, because greater happiness is foreseen. Furthermore, "wedding cake" has always been considered a very healthy meal against various types of diseases.

Other curative procedures were also noted. If a man lost the will to eat, he was advised to steal some bread from a gypsy bag and eat it. Supposedly, afterwards, his good appetite will return.

In Velika Kladuša, when someone gets an itch or sugreb (sarcoptes scabiei), he takes a piece of bread, rubs a piece of bread at a spot that is caught by the rash, and then throws it to the dog to eat.

Anyone who wants to get rid of black magic takes a kilo of bread, crumples it in nylon and goes to a bridge with it.

Standing on the bridge, he turns the bag three times around, around his stomach, clockwise, or popularly said "as the sun goes", and then shakes the crumbs into the water. By belief, this is alms to the fish, to feed them, and they will in return "eat" the black magic from this man and thus release him from the negative impact.
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Buy bread!

The old story of our people mentions the kumra (Streptopelia decaocto), a bird that won the hearts of all the saints, so much so that they asked Allah to grant her the power of speech and thus make her more privileged than all other animals. And God please them. But one day, the saints complained to dear Allah that the people had corrupted, become enraged and ungrateful. These words angered God, and He commanded the saints to send to men: drought, famine, and pestilence. Fortunately, the kumra heard all that they had agreed upon, and flew to the ground immediately to alert people of the impending disaster.

Whatever house she lands on, she would cry out loud to the people to harvest the wheat and fill their barns as quickly as possible because God decided to send a drought and famine on them. The people, knowing what honor the kumra enjoys with the saints, took her warning very seriously and made sure that they did as she said, and thus escaped hunger.

Upon learning from the saints what the kumra had done to them, He immediately deprived her of the power of speech, but after a while he showed her mercy for being good to people, so he returned her voice, but only so much that she could warn people every year that they needed to appreciate the bread. That is why, according to the Bosnian people, she constantly repeats the warning as she lands near someone's house; "Buy bread!", "Buy bread!", Thus wanting to warn the people that bread should not be tossed but as a gift from God, it should be appreciated and every crumb should be picked up from the table.

Wheat and bread in the tradition of the Bosnian people Kumra_10

Husein Cisic wrote about the kumra and her privileged position with the Bosnian people in his book "The Beginning and Development of the City of Mostar":

Kumra is a typical Mostar bird transferred to our city from the east, where it became domesticated as in its native place. There were attempts to move her to other places, but she would always flee back to our city. She enjoyed complete immunity here, because in the old days there was no Mostarac who would not protect her if they saw that someone had thrown a stone at her or something else. The Germans almost eradicated this species during World War I. At least that is how it seemed. But, after the war, she reappeared and multiplied. The invaders also took aim at it during World War II, but it still saved the seed. Now she no longer trusts people and does not nest on the roofs, but hides in the branches of cypress trees.

There is more to the story of bread and one of these legends reaches the time when the Romans ruled over the whole of Illyricum. At that time there was a father with seven sons and one daughter. Their lives went on peacefully and calmly until one day, the brothers, out of pure boredom, set bread on stone, as a target, and began to compete for who would hit it with a spear. Their laughter and shouts abruptly interrupted the strange event - blood spilled from the spear-struck bread. Seeing what the sons had done, the old father clutched his head, realizing that they had drawn the wrath of the gods, and that they would be punished for sacrilege. Soon the father dies, and the sons leave the parental home one after the other, leaving in every direction of the world, where every trace of them is lost. In the end, only a daughter remains in the house, who is turned into a great serpent by the gods and tasked with guarding their treasure.

The third bread legend tells the story of how people lived long ago in a time of great prosperity. This made them so arrogant and vain that they made themselves bread shoes and walked like that. This angered the gods, who sent them drought and famine for several years. This terrible event resulted in mass deaths when the population halved in numbers.
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Folk beliefs and prophecies

There are many beliefs about bread, which are basically divinatory since they always foresee future events. I am quite sure that there is no place in all of BiH where there are no at least a few "bread superstitions". Most of them are identical with the beliefs of nearby or further towns and cities, although there are certainly some local ones. In Velika Kladuša, for example, it is believed that a young man or a girl who spills a lot of bread while eating is unhappy in love. Tomo Dragicevic (People's Superstitions, GZM, Sarajevo) wrote something about such and similar folklore considerations, so I cite those who, due to the modernization of their lifestyles, are almost completely forgotten.

When the bread is eaten and the piece falls to the ground from the mouth or a spoon, they say that someone in the family is hungry.

When the bread does not swell, it is a sign that someone in the house will die.

When the bread is halved, the bread crust should not be turned inside when the pieces are placed on the table, because it is upside down so that they are not upside down in life. If anyone is fooled and turns the bark inside, they will say "no to the gallows."

When there is coal or a piece of wood in the bread, it hints at a stillborn.

When an insect is found in the bread, it means that the homeowner will grow in luck.

If there is hair in the bread, the host will move away from the house.

When the bread falls out of your hands, it means the barn will be emptied.

When a husband finds a piece of clothing in his bread, it is a sign that he will soon lose his wife.

When the bread breaks in half, you can hope for the journey or the arrival of the passengers.

When the bottom crust breaks from the bread and remains on the hearth, it is a sign that the hostess is polite and loyal.

If a housewife rises bread from a fire, and breaks it by accident, it is a sign that she and her husband will quarrel.

If the housewife breaks the bread before the host, she will divorce and marry another man. That's why the head of the house always breaks bread and puts it on the table.

If a dog, cat, or a mouse breaks the bread first, fear the bastard arrival, because it is believed that when she (the wife) looks after another men, those animals eat her bread.

The housewife, who wastes a lot of bread and throws it to the cattle, it is believed that she is the enemy of the house she lives in.

If the housewife brings bread to the table first and then spoons, it means that her husband needs to find another woman for himself, because she has found a lover for herself.

If a householder does not break bread in front of one family member but breaks and takes it in front of another, it is a sign that the family member will soon marry.

If a household member receives two pieces of bread from the host, it is a sign that they will have children.

If the host has some bread left at the table, he will, so they claim, lend to others his grain, and if he has abundant bread, then he will have to borrow grain from the others.
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๑۩۞۩๑ A N Z O T I K A ๑۩۞۩๑ :: ۞ Traditional Witchcraft of Bosnia ۞-
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