Croats, according to the oldest traditions, called themselves the ‘Sun people’, or the ‘Sun warriors’. In the beginning there was nothing, there was a ‘Pre-darkness’, sea and dark sky, the only existing thing was the ‘Pre-egg’ in which rested ‘Svarog’, the divine creator. Under the influence of the life force, the egg cracked open and created the light. So, the forces that created the world were initiated, and from Svarog shadows ‘Crnobog’ was born, god of evil and suffering.
Long long time ago there lived a goddess of a morning star. Her name was Danica. Each morning she would open the gates of Džabog’s palace so that the sun may begin his journey. And what journey that was! Full of brightness, colors, warmth, shiny sparkles and everyday beauty.
It’s no wonder Slavic people prayed to Danica each morning as the sun rose, sun little sister. They were obsessed with natural light provide to them by the stars, the moon and the sun.
And still they are…
Our obsession with light given to us by our ‘gods’ can be seen in many photos published on social networks. Sunrise photos, sunset photos, are most liked and most welcomed to see, and, in some strange way, we are still cherishing Croatian forgotten gods while admiring beauty of the Sun.
The island of Hvar is said to be the number one hotspot of Europe, seeing more sunshine in a year than anywhere else. And the name Hvar and its origin? Its name, Hvar, is a Persian word meaning the ‘Sun’, in the Avesta, Hvar is the name for the ‘God of the Sun’.
In May 1964, Alfred Hitchcock checked into Room 204 of the classic and now closed Hotel Zagreb on the waterfront in Zadar. The hotel’s location was one of the best in town and it was from there that the famed director opined that “The sunset of Zadar is the world’s most beautiful and incomparably better than in Key West, Florida.” This is a fact that Zadar residents have long known, but which the celebrity mention made world-famous.
Was he right? Who cares. Fact that we are mentioning it on each and every of our tourism sites says enough; we know how to show the world our love towards beauty of the sun.
From the Guardian…
Croatian mythology should be told on a cold winter’s night. It’s the sort of stuff that needs flickering light from a dying fire and a howling wind whistling outside, occasional draughts sending extra shivers down your spine. Sitting in a semi-circle before a wise old woman, or a huge bearded man, you don’t get Croatian folk stories from a book, just from memory and invention.
Croatian myth is part of the Slavic tradition that sweeps across Baltic, central and Eastern Europe, terrifying children and giving nightmares a ghoulish flavour. There is almost nothing that can be called specifically Croatian, hardly surprising given that there has hardly been an area that would answer to the name of Croatia for very long.
The Slavic tradition itself is nothing like as hard and fast as Greek mythology. There are no ancient written authorities and all that survive are the characters, but without any actual stories.
There are Gods like Perun, God of Thunder, King of the Gods, who are recognisable from all mythologies. Most of the Slavic Gods, like Veles, God of the Underworld, would feel at home round a Greek or a Norse Gods’ banqueting table. But it is the lesser deities, who inhabit the world around us every day, who give Slavic myth its own peculiar dimensions.
Considering how ‘scary’ Croatian stories of long ago can be (believe me, I have experienced ‘beauty’ of night tales many times during my childhood), again, it’s no wonder, we created something opposite, like Danica or Zora. Light, even in the late afternoon, was our safe port during frightening storms.
And the cup–the enchantress cup–will grow, grow until it becomes a huge basin filled with purple: — and in the evening sunset I shall bathe all of my precious cup’s figures, gods, goddesses, fairies, shepherds, musicians and pipers, awaiting in the game, music, and laughter for magic sleep to wrap us in velvet and spill into our cup of happiness the glaring magic of his stars: the stars of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
Fran Mažuranić, 1859-1928