Bosnian folk calendar
The Bosnian national (agricultural) calendar spans back to the old era. The maker of the calendar is unknown. It is known that it was created and used by a farmer. Some dates from the Julian calendar, which was created 45 years BCE, can be recognised in the Bosnian calendar. After Christianity came, some of these dates received names of saints. With the arrival of the Slavs, pagans, people known for agriculture, the dates had different names, but they always remained the same. The folk calendar was used continuously, it was used during the time of the Bogumil's, it was also used during the Ottoman period, and it even serves a purpose today. Besides this, in Bosnia the Hijri calendar was also strictly observed. It was done by the Imam's and other religious scholars, in order to be aware of the important religious dates (Ramadan, Bayram, New year, etc.). The Hijri calendar was impractical when it came to agriculture, since it moved forward ten days every solar year, however it was practical when it came to fasting during the month of Ramadan since it moved through all the seasons. We need to mention that the Hijri calendar was the official calendar in Bosnia during the Ottoman period, until the Austro-Hungarian period when they brought the Gregorian calendar.
The Bosnian folk calendar begins on December 21st, the folk belief holds that on that date, the day extends as much as a rooster can jump from a doorstep. From this date on comes the Zehmeriya (Turkish: Zehmeri) the coldest part of winter that lasts for 40 days. While Zehmeriya lasts people avoid drinking cold water in fear of catching a cold.
January: the folk call January the longest moth in the year. From January 17th the counting of the weeks until Hidirlez begins (May 6th), 17 weeks total. This is what determines the sowing.
The period from January 31st until March 20th is called Hamsin and it represents the second part of winter.
February- from February 14th until March 14th is Veljača, the folk belief is that if snow falls in the beginning of the Veljača that the year will be fertile, and that wheat will have a good yield.
Djemre (Turkish: Cemreler), the meaning of this word is "burning charcoal", it is believed that Djemre is the sun's heat which starts to have an intense impact on the land and it starts awakening the nature.
-The first Djemra appears on February 20th and heats the air. That's when the Southern wind starts blowing and it becomes milder.
-The second Djemra appears on February 27th heats up the water and raises its level. The water in the river doesn't freeze from this point on.
-The third Djemra appears on March 6th and heats up the land. The snow melts fast and the first grass starts sprouting.
(Right after the first Djemra the people have a custom to notch the roots of the birch and put a glass bottle so that the juices of the birch flow in it. The bottle stays in that position until the third Djemra. The collected juices are used for medicinal purposes, especially kidney diseases)
March: the agricultural works begin during this month, the potatoes, onions and salads are sown. After the third Djemra the fruit trees are notched and inoculated.
Grandma (Baba)- from March 15th until March 21st is the period of the grandma, the unstable period when a couple of weather phenomena change in one day.
Grandpa (Did,Djed)- from March 21st until March 28th is the period of the grandpa, the folk beliefs are that it is more merciful and people start sowing potatoes during this period.
(“Did” or Grandpa is a name (title) of each Bogumil priest in Bosnia and “Baba” (grandma) is the name of his wife who helped her husband and the community by healing with herbs, assisting in births, or foretelling fortunes. Since the Bosnian people were Bogumils before Islam came, it is then no mystery why they kept some of the memories of their old religion. Among the folk there are numerous stories, mostly comical, about Did and Baba and their adventures. By them, we can discern that they commanded great respect among the Bosnian people.)
Kablići- March 29th until March 31st
Stablići- April 1st until April 3rd
Štapići- April 4th until April 7th
(All three names are connected to the past of Bosnia when the winters were very long and they usually lasted until the middle of April. During that period the cattle used to die because of lack of food)
Mučenjaci- period from April 8th until July, this is the period when people suffered (hence the name) until the sowing of the wheat.
April: during April the corn is sown. The old Bosniaks would wait for the frogs to start making noise, which would be a sign that the climate is optimal for sowing. The people also followed other signs of the nature, and therefore it is believed that when the beech tree starts sprouting leaves that one can begin sowing grain without fearing frost. During the middle of April the grapevine was notched and a bottle was placed underneath it for the juices to drip in it until Hidirlez. This juice was used by women to smear on their hair so it would be healthy and grow quicker.
May: in the first quarter of May the sowing of beans begins.
Hidirlez or Jurjevo (May 6th)- according to the national calendar from this day forward, the summer begins and the swimming in lakes and ponds can begin. In the period from May 6th until May 13th the first swarms of bees are let loose.
June: the first seven days of June are called "bijela nedjelja” or “white week" because the white mushrooms (Cantharellus cibarius) are picked in the forests at that time. In the beginning of June , pumpkins, turnips and radishes are sown.
August: it is believed that this month gives diarrhea to children and the elderly. To prevent this from happening, the mothers would take some clothes of their children and throw it under the wheel of carriages that carry wheat bundles. In the first days of August the onion and garlic are picked.
Aliđun- August 2nd: the folk belief is that from this day on, the summer loses its heat and slowly turns into autumn, the water in the rivers begins to cool down and there can be no more swimming.
September: during this month the potato is reaped, the corn as well and the grapes start ripening. If some strawberries sprout in September, then it is believed that the autumn will be long and mild.
October: in the first and second week of October wheat is sown.
Kasum - November 8th: from this day onward, winter starts. On this day, all loans are settled, and leases of land end. Kasum is Turkish the name of November. The Arabic word kasim means 'something that divides“.
.................................................Bosnia-Hercegovina, like its Ottoman, Habsburg, and Yugoslav predecessors, is a multinational state. Today, most citizens identify themselves as one of three Slavic groups: Bosniaks (44 percent), Bosnian Croats (17 percent), or Bosnian Serbs (31 percent). In addition to Slavs, smaller groups Bosnian living in the region for centuries include Albanians (descended from Illyrians), Germans, Roma (Gypsies), Jews, Romanians, Turks, and Hungarians.