Popular Belief



The Hungarian Slovenes believed that every house possessed a “house snake” (ižina kača). According to popular belief, the house snake lives inside the walls of old farmhouses. It is said that you hear its voice, which is similar to the ticking of an alarm-clock, at night, and that it protects the house from evil. Since the house snake also embodies the souls of the ancestors in the popular belief of the Slavs, one is not allowed to kill it.  If anyone kills the house snake, they too or their animals will die. The Slovenes differentiate between the female (kačá) and the male snake (kač). The male snake wears a crown on its head. One says that when this male snake bathes, it takes off its crown, and if anyone stole this crown they would gain wealth.


The Hungarian Slovenes preserve the name of the God of Thunderbolt, which derives its origin from Slavic mythology, both in the expression “the impact of Perun” -Parün je vadro” and in the name of the Common House Leek* “parünovo pérgePerun’s feather”. They grew this plant on the thatched roofs in order to prevent bolts from hitting their houses.


It is said that the goblin endangers both babies and adults. It chokes adults in their sleep. It enters the house through the keyhole and presses one’s chest, camouflaged as a cat. People can drive away the goblin with the sound “mujc, mujc”. In order to protect themselves from the goblin, the Slovenes from the Raba Region tamped the keyholes and drew three crosses on the door with charcoal. The popular belief says that the seventh daughter would become a goblin.


According to popular belief, the witches and magicians (čaralice, comparnice, čalejrge) were women and men cooperating with the devil. They turned into toads, however, never into pigeons. Anyone can become a witch or a magician by going to a place where the church bells cannot be heard anymore. The belief says that there a cat shall be flayed and licked three times.


The “Garabonciás” (črne, šaule, diják), similar to the witches, was on amicable terms with the devil. It is said that he causes storms and hail. If a “Garabonciás” enters a house you have to offer him some milk. In the tradition of the popular belief, the “Garabonciás” was a student who had studied too hard and thus went mad.


According to popular belief, women or men who were nursed by their mothers three successive Good Fridays could “hit” (zvörčiti) someone with the evil eye. One could be cured of the evil eye by coal water. Prophecies were highly popular and people recited them very often. The most advantageous days for predictions were Saint Lucian’s Day, Christmas Eve, festive days and the 13th days of every month. On Saint Lucian’s Day’s Eve a girl had to lay men’s underwear under her pillow so that she could dream about her future husband.


* lat.: Sempervivum tectorum



Translated from German into English: Joël Gerber

The German text is based on: Mukics Mária, „A Magyarországi Szlovének; Press Publica, (2003)