I recently bought a Vukojarac t-shirt from my DBH store… I love it, took a bunch of pictures of it, buuuuuuut – I now want to tell you more about the Vukojarac!
VUKOJARAC (VUK=WOLF, JARAC=male goat)
A mythical creature from the Imotski area, in Croatia. It is also known in all the Dalmatia and made popular by Ivan Raos, the author of „Beggars and sons” (Prosjaci i sinovi), that was a book and a Croatian TV show (made in 1971. and banned/censored until 1984.). The role of Matan (main character) is one of the most famous roles of Rade Šerbedžija. It had a huge impact on Croatian culture and references to it are still used often. The show is still loved and considered one of the best Croatian series of all times because of the humor and characters.
However, Raos did not invent Vukojarac, there are folk stories that mention it too. Vukojarac is a part of Croatian/Slavic pre-Christian beliefs and mythology. People used to believe in all kinds of evil creatures, witches, magic and werewolves. By the way, Croatian werewolves are nothing like the Hollywood ones.
WEREWOLVES (vukodlak, vukudlak, kudlak, fudlak, ukodlak, ukodlačica, ukosica, korlak, štrigon, obrstar)
Werewolves are the dead that are brought back to life. These are the deceased who return among the living to do evil upon them. Witches become werewolves after they die, but also evil people, people whose families didn’t respect the burial tradition and it happens when an animal like a dog or a cat crosses over the dead body. Also, there’s a belief that a werewolf is a child of a witch and the devil.
Werewolves attack at night, they torture people and drink their blood, and run away back to their graves at the sound of a rooster. You can kill the werewolf by opening the grave and stabbing them in the heart with a hawthorn stake. Villagers and priests did that. There wasn’t a big difference between vampires and werewolves.
They can take any form (not just wolf, but any animal that acts atypical, like a rabbit that is not fearful), and dogs always recognize werewolves. They can sometimes turn into a Vukojarac.
Vukojarac is a bad omen, a demonic beast that consists of many animals.
There are a lot of descriptions of this being. The beast has a wolf head with billy goat beard and horns, goat body covered in bear hair/hide, very big ox/cow eyes. It has four different legs – one is of a goat, one of a wolf, one of bear and one (the back right one) is a (donkey or horse) hoof. The hoof can break something even before it touches it. There’s one devil or demon poking out of each and every hair, watching people dying. Those devils are laughing and mocking peoples misery and death. It is a demonic being, and seeing one means certain death and starvation.
Seeing Vukojarac means that the 99th year (as Raos calls it) has begun. It is a year that comes once in a century, but nobody knows when. It is the year when Lucifer is free to reap the Lord’s great fields. It means great misfortune, barren land, starvation and the most awful death.
Superstition is a very important part of the Croatian culture, especially the rural areas. It is also quite common to find different descriptions of the same the same thing, because a lot of stories are just told to the children, and some parts get lost and changed from generation to generation.
- Mention of Vukojarac: https://steemit.com/history/@spalatino/slavic-mythology-2-ac40bb43aa449
- Blog about Croatian myths and legends: https://croatianmythology.blogspot.com/
- Some fun folklore: http://legendfest.hr/en/festivals/folklore/
- Folk stories: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_Tales_of_Long_Ago