Folk beliefs

Croatian folk legends, myths and stories are part of history and culture. They have been transmitted for hundreds of years, mostly orally from generation to generation, with some written records. Some of their elements such as fairies and giants are part of the legends of many world cultures, and differ in their interpretation. In the following text, several of the many elements of Croatian folk legends, myths and stories will be listed.

Krsnik is a supernatural being associated with the culture of Istria and part of Kvarner. He is simply a good man who protects the people from witches, drought, disease and death. A krsnik is born at birth and these are children who are born in a white "shirt" (placenta). It is this placenta that is the source of the krsnik's power and gives him the strength to fight witches and other evils, and even the power to heal people and domestic animals. For this reason, sometimes the placenta was sewn under the armpits of children born as krsniks in order to be fused with them forever.

Of all the mythological characters, witches have always attracted the greatest interest of people, as they are one of the main characters in almost all world cultures. They also occupy a special place in Croatian mythology. In Istria and parts of Dalmatia they are also known as štrige, štrije or štrigulje, and in northwestern Croatia as coprnice. Children born in a red or black "shirt" (placenta), and sometimes with a small tail, become witches throughout their lives. Their wicked powers can be taken away from them if their birth is announced to everyone. If the parents are ashamed of the child born as a witch, and the birth is not announced, the child will surely become a witch during his or her life.

Malik is a mythological creature that appears in the form of a dwarf with a red cap on his head. It is also part of the culture of Istria and the Croatian coast. He brings both good and evil to people, so if someone steals his cap it brings treasure to that person. On the other hand, he steals cattle and returns them after a few days when they can no longer give milk and damages baby diapers, which is why children cry.

Read more: