There is no denying that Albanian mythology is known for its belief in worshiping the sun, moon, and the natural things around us. If you are ready to get to know more interesting facts about their beliefs, folklore, and deities, then keep reading below!
Let's start with the basics: When exactly did Albanian mythology come to be? Albanian folklore can be traced back to the 15th century, but most collections date back to the 19th century. Based on history, the most prominent people who influenced Albanian literature were Girolamo De Rada and Demetrio Camarda. However, numerous components of the current Albanian national ideology originated elsewhere.
Although they were primarily published in émigré newspapers, their views were intended for a larger audience, particularly between 1912 and 1921, when the major western countries controlled Albania's destiny. Most writings discuss and recognize four primary kinds of myths in the country's literature. Let's get further into the details.
According to the myth of birth and seniority, the Albanians were the oldest people in south-eastern Europe, dating back to even the ancient Greeks.
According to the myth of racial homogeneity and intellectual purity, there had never been significant levels of hybridization or dilution by other groups or cultures among Albanians.
According to the persistent national struggle myth, Albanians have always struggled to overthrow non-Albanians, whether they were Roman, Slavic, or Ottoman.
According to the myth of indifference to faith, the Albanians' shifts in theology were often strategic decisions made for the greater good of collective defense. That religious ideology had never served as a fundamental status symbol for them.
So, this sequence of assumptions that reinforce one another perfectly illustrates the mythological style of self-expression and self.
Albanian mythology and folklore are primarily thought to have come from the ancient Illyrian religion, which you will learn about by the end of this article, so keep reading.
The concepts reflected in the conventions, rites, beliefs, stories, and narratives of the Albanian people are known as mythical stories. This type of story is very popular to the point that it is also reflected in the the Albanian Music. The two main categories of Albanian mythology are factual stories and transformation tales.
In Albanian mythology, physical events, substances, and things are linked to mythical creatures. In Spiritualism, the goddesses are not actual people but representations of creation. For this reason, many are saying that most of the stories are based on pagan beliefs. But can we blame them? The development of Albanian mythology took place over the years amid a somewhat tribal, rural society and civilization.
The adoration of the Moon and the Sun is the earliest-known Albanian religion. The soil is the focus of a specific cult in Albanian folklore, and fire—revered as an alive, holy, or heavenly ingredient and involved in rites, sacrifices, and purification—plays a significant part.
According to scientific research, all literature is derived from and transformed due to religion. The recontextualization of the tale of writers like Ismail Kadare, Rexhep Qosja, etc., and other names, from the beginning of Albanian literature to the present, is clear evidence of the relationship between myth, religion, and Albanian literature. In fact, some scenes and people are taken from the Bible and the Qur'an.
An essential element of Albanian mythology is the Kanun, aka law. Historically, customary laws in Albania have changed and have been augmented by new rules throughout time. The Ottoman authorities published the earliest collection of laws for Albania in the nineteenth century. However, most of these have been changed once again during the Christian era.
The Albanian state passed laws during the communist period outlawing traditional Albanian practices. The Arabic and early Turkish languages both borrowed the Greek word "canon," which means "pole" or "rule," to create the term "kanun." In Martanesh, it was called "kanun," in Ermenik, in Toskria, "The Kanun of the Adet," in Labria, "The sharte of Idriz Suli," and in the Bregu region, "Venomet e Himars."
The Balkan people frequently depict mythical animals "coming at night and murdering people while asleep." The female figures, whose identities depend entirely on which region of Albania, are associated with these animals. However, these mythical figures make another appearance among the Albanians of Ukraine, where several are also known to exist. The whistleblowers' accounts say that it is a "black figure that arrives at midnight." Additionally, there are also some tales about the mountain fairy, Zana e Malit.
The tales about a terrible path are pretty well-known among the Ukrainian Albanians. Furthermore, there are several urban tales regarding undesirable locations for constructing homes, dead zones in the local geography, and hazardous roads. The Ukrainian Albanians believe God can send a sign to a traveler, cool! isn't it? Both positive and negative news might be found on this sign. Here is what most books state:
You are given a sign from God for your good, and God may also give you an indication of impending bad luck. God uses you as a positive indicator, and God also uses you as a negative indicator.
Let's now move on to the deities and goddesses in Albanian mythology. Ancient Albanian literature has a significant amount of themes that were taken from religious mythology, the Bible, and the Qur'an. Let's get to know them below!
Ora is a half-human, half-ghost figure who would defend you or bring about calamity if it appeared to you. The protagonist of the majority of Albanian stories is usually an Ora or a figure that travels with their own Ora.
Oras is referred to be either a bad or deadly mythical person depending on the narrative or story. People in the past were forbidden from uttering the name Ora for fear of being cursed by it. According to historians, they have been passed down through generations via lore and custom since the ancient paganism of the Illyrians.
Ora is said to have formerly resided in mountains, woods, close to springs, etc. The areas where it was believed that Oras used to relax were off-limits to people since, if even one leaf were to be damaged close to their preferred spot, they or a member of their family would suffer terrible consequences.
The 'Kuçedra,' an evolved form of the Bolla that resembles a spiky dragon with nine heads. He is known as a storm demon who can only be pacified by offering human sacrifice. If not worshipped, he brings about droughts, floods, and storms. This wicked serpent-like monster is also known as the "Bolla" from Albanian mythology. It also appears in English folklore, where it is destroyed by St. George, the patron saint of England.
In Albanian paganism, Prende (also spelled Prenne, Premte, or Petka) is the dawn goddess of love, fertility, and beauty. Her holy day is Friday, which is called e premte after her. Her name is related to the Ancient Greek Persephatta, a spelling variation of Persephone. More than one in eight Catholic churches in Albania in the 16th and early 17th centuries bore her name because of how well-liked she was there. She is known as "Lady Prenne" or "Lady of Beauty" in Albanian folklore.
Prende was designated as Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary, by the Catholic church at the time Albania became Christianized. Christians and Muslims often made pilgrimages to the church of Saint Veneranda in the Kurbin valley.
In Albanian mythology and folklore, Nna e Vatrs is the goddess of the fire, i.e., hearth. She is linked to the worship of fire, the forefather's religion, and the matriarchal family life group.
According to folklore in Albania, Nna e Vatrs guards the vatr or family hearth. Albanians believe cleaning the fireplace should be done at night, and if it isn't cleaned up, Nna e Vatrs becomes upset. People used to sacrifice to God at feasts by tossing part of the food they had cooked into the fire and all around the hearth.
Given that the Illyrians were illiterate, hardly much was known about their religious practices and beliefs. Sun worship was a recurring topic in the ancient region known as "Illyria." The southern Illyrian tribes are also known to worship snakes.
Sentona, the travel goddess, worshiped near Istria in the north. The main emphasis of Albanian mythology is the conflict between the Drangue, a divine entity linked with storms, and the Kulshedra, a giant snake monster with many heads. The veneration of the sun and the snake is comparable to that of Illyrian mythology.
The role of each pagan in Albanian mythology has also been highlighted in the old texts. The idea that the Illyrians saw divinity in nature is further supported by evidence that they may have worn amulets made of different animals. Paleo-Balkanic religious beliefs and the deities they represent are present in Albanian mythology.
The striking similarities between some of these beliefs can also be found in those of nearby cultures like the Greeks. As time goes on, we'll learn more about the views of the Illyrians and that they'll be shown to be very similar to Albanian mythology if they follow the pattern of what we now know about them.
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