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Witches in Croatia – What Should You Know?

Witches in Croatia? Halloween? Well, that’s a tale worth spinning, especially with Halloween just around the corner. Let’s take a playful journey into the magic and mysteries of Croatia’s past, where witches and their enchanting stories cast their spell over the land. 🎃 

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Long before jack-o’-lanterns and trick-or-treating, folks in Croatia had their own bewitching tales. Witches were like local celebrities, known for brewing up secret potions and causing mischief. It’s like a real-life Halloween party, but with a dash of history and a pinch of folklore. So, grab your broomsticks and join us as we dive into the magical world of Croatia’s witches! 

🧙‍♀️ But, it wasn’t all fun and games. In history, there were witch trials too. These enchanting women often found themselves facing accusations that could change their lives forever. 

Unveiling Croatia's Enigmatic Witchlore

The word witch comes from an old word “strix” meaning a night bird like an owl. People thought it was mysterious. Witches were women who did dark and strange rituals and were friends with the devil. People talked about witches in ancient Egypt too, where they did magic to help the pharaoh. 

Witches have been around for a long time in many places. In Europe from 15th to 18th century, people went crazy about witches. Many were killed in a witch hunt, like in 1275 in Toulouse or 1793 in Posan. Some say almost a million witches were burned! In Croatia, Maria Theresa banned witches in 1758.

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In Croatia, witches are seen as women with evil eyes and hearts, making deals with the devil. The devil can look like different animals: dogs, cats, goats, birds, donkeys, and even frogs. Witches cause strange things like smoky stoves and creaky furniture. They can also make bad things happen by stomping like horses.

Witches have some animal friends like bats, salamanders, and snakes. They ride brooms and mortars. Witches use magic and can turn people into animals, like a horse. They also eat children and adult hearts in midnight rituals. 

To Spot Witches in Croatia…

In the church, a person might spot a witch when someone climbs onto a special tripod beneath the choir. This is kept secret because it’s sacred. People have their ways to protect against witches and spot them. Holy water, garlic, incense, blessed candles, a flipped coat, wax, an upended table, or waving a scythe three times in the air—all can chase witches away and safeguard good folks. 

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Witches gather in a mystical circle under the full moon, conjuring enchantments.

Witches use plants for both curing and brewing mysterious potions. They often work alone but sometimes gather in circles for midnight gatherings during the full moon. This is known as the “devil’s hour.” What a witch curses, she can also undo with repentance and confession. 

When a witch passes away, a strong wind blows, black chickens peck at her grave, and a black horse lingers nearby. Croatia has its own names for witches like višćica, coprnica, čorvanica, and many more in our rich oral traditions. 

The Legends Witches in Croatia

In the late 19th century, Rudolf Strohal, a historian and writer, recorded tales about Klek witches. These stories describe the witches from Klek who use secret herbs and oils. They also fly to Klek, create chaos at inns, dance as witches. Sometimes they even harm husbands and children. Some of these stories come from women accused of being witches, along with witnesses and judges during real witch trials in northwestern Croatia. Some of the accused witches faced tragic fates, with some burned at the stake. 

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One legend tells of a witch who turned into stone. There’s a rock resembling a mushroom called “(Visi) Baba”. Iti s located near the entrance to the village of Bjelsko. The Ozalj region had a bad reputation for witch activities after Klek. Even into the early 20th century, people in Trg believed that witches were born at night and taken to the island of Kupa in carriages. 

For instance, Dora Lagenka was burned as a witch in Ozalj in 1694. Bari Petruša from Vivodina was beheaded in 1749 and then burned. Even today, as noted by the curator of the Karlovac City Museum, suspicions of witchcraft linger in this region, especially in unusual or unfortunate cases. Čulig wrote a play about the witch Bara Petruša, performed in the old town of Dubovac in 2000. 

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Halloween and Witches Today in Croatia

Today, witches in Croatia still weave their mystical threads through our Halloween celebrations. Halloween, celebrated on the night of October 31st, is the perfect blend of spookiness and fun. It’s when the boundary between our world and the spirit realm blurs. People dress up as witches and other spooky characters. This is a time for creating a bewitching connection between the ancient tales of witches and the modern festivities. Witches have become a symbol of Halloween, as they remind us of the enchanting stories from the past while adding a playful and slightly mischievous touch to the holiday. 

Many younger Croatians have embraced Halloween as a fun and exciting event. They often see it as an opportunity to dress up in costumes, attend costume parties, and enjoy the festivities. For them, Halloween is a chance to express creativity. 

Younger folks love Halloween. They dress up, go to parties, and do fun stuff like pumpkin carving. It's exciting and creative.
Younger folks love Halloween. They dress up, go to parties, and do fun stuff like pumpkin carving.

Some older Croatians view Halloween as a foreign import and not part of their traditional culture. Croatia is a Ctaholic country. Catholic people often celebrate religious holidays and festivals that are significant to their faith. Some of these include: 

  • All Saints’ Day (November 1st), which honors all known and unknown saints,
  • and All Souls’ Day (November 2nd), which is a day to pray for the souls of the deceased. 

Additionally, many Catholic countries have their own local traditions and festivals that hold special importance for their communities. 

In general, Halloween in Croatia is seen as a way to bring a bit of whimsy and spooky delight into daily life. It’s an opportunity to engage in a different kind of celebration and enjoy a taste of the mystical and imaginative. 

Join us for some spooky fun in Croatia! 🧙‍♀️🎃 Find out more mysterious legends, enchanting stories, and magical traditions. Let’s explore the mystical side of the Adriatic! 🔮 

Your CTC Team

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