"Knock" - Kucanje

In English "The Knock" is the excise man visiting, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it's something totally different.

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A stunning dusk shot from Manjača - The area to the south of Banja Luka. Image from Aleksandar Trifunović

Hello and welcome to this edition of our Blog, from Čardačani, in the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina, written by an immigrant (me), as I am neither a tourist or a citizen here.


Remembrance

1945 and 2022

When the last edition of this blog dropped into your inboxes it was the 22nd of April, or “Veliki Petak” here. Veliki Petak or “Big Friday” is the Serbian Orthodox equivalent to Good Friday back in the United Kingdom. The Friday before Easter.

The 22nd of April though, has great significance for Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second city, that is about 20km south of where we live.

It’s because on that day back in 1945, the 10th Krajina Impact Partisan Division, liberated the city from Nazi and Ustaše occupation. Banja Luka was occupied from 9th April 1941. During the period of occupation, many punitive actions were taken against the local population who were deemed to be enemies of occupational forces, which included Jews, ethnic-Serbs, Roma, anti-fascists, communists and other Axis opponents. The final number of people who suffered I have not been able to ascertain, but it was considerable.


My Serbian Orthodox Easter

I have never been a religious person, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been interested in how different cultures interpret their faith. For example I found how Orthodox Ethiopians pray in the mornings, extremely fascinating, especially as it seemed so similar to Islam. At least to me.

By now, you are aware that I get to enjoy most christian events twice. Anglican and Orthodox.

In the last post I wrote about Tamara baking Hot Cross Buns for me. Typically British 😀.

This past weekend however, was the turn of Tamara’s parents to host the Sunday Lunch.

Of course it was a feast, but two things that I experienced again, which I really do enjoy were:

1. The Degree of Detail that’s goes into table and egg decorations. The following are from Tamara’s Aunts Easter Lunch table. The wonderful colouring of the eggs are by boiling the eggs using red onion skins.

2. The Tradition of Egg Fighting. “Kucanje”.

Breakfast starts with a game of ‘kucanje’, (I think which translates to “knock”), which involves people cracking their eggs against each other – top to top, and bottom to bottom.

This tradition also involves competition, as the one whose egg doesn’t break is believed to be blessed by good luck.

This year, after decades of practice, I started to have some degree of success 😀.

I am not too sure if egg fighting exists outside the western Balkans?

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A Boat Called “Floatee”

In today's gloom and doom that is our information space, I really try to find positivity, and amplify that positivity.

What a find this Monday morning in my Google Alerts!


Biljana left Sarajevo just before the outbreak of war, and discovered tango, shamanism, Cornwall and a houseboat called Floatee


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Garo’s Woes

This is Garo. He’s the latest addition to the family. Sadly another “waif and stray” to arrive with us. Sadly too, is the fact he’s not in the best shape healthwise. After a few trips to our super local vets in Laktaši, he’s now been admitted as an “in patient” for a few days, as he continues to battle not only a virus, but a bacterial infection as well.

Our fingers are tightly crossed for him, as he is such a sweet chap. Updates next week.


Italians in Laktaši - Part One

Karađordjeva 132, 78250 Laktasi, Bosnia and Herzegovina

This is the Stella Risto bar in Laktaši. It is an Italian restaurant. Nothing hugely story wise you may ask.

BUT.

The family who owns and runs this are from the Italian community that has been in this area for a considerable time.

In September 1883, the first 25 Italian families immigrated to this area. According to the 1921 census, there were 538 Italians living in the Tyrolean colony in Mahovljani near Laktaši.
From seeds, fruit and vine seedlings, and an old recipe from their homeland, the production of wine and brandy began.

Italian Wine from Laktaši is part of the north wine route in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Stella is one of Tamara and my fave places to eat locally. We have often thought about the “Italian Connection”, and it wasn’t ‘till this week that we met Giulia, the owner, who was born here but also had RUN an Italian restaurant in Camden, London.

Giulia has agreed to chat more about the “Italian connection” (fascinating local history), which I cannot wait to record for a future podcast.

The history of the vineyards should be exciting too.

So if you have any questions please drop them down below, I will definitely ask her.

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AND IN THE MEANTIME WHY NOT VISIT THE RESTAURANT AND ENJOY REALLY AMAZING FOOD 👍 🇮🇹 😀


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