Albanian folk beliefs
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|History of Albania|
Albanian folk beliefs comprise myths and legends of the Albanians. Many of the characters in Albanian mythology are included in the Albanian Songs of the Frontier Warriors (Albanian: Këngë Kreshnikësh or Cikli i Kreshnikëve), the traditional cycle of Albanian epic songs.
The elements of Albanian folk beliefs are of Paleo-Balkanic origin and almost all of them are pagan. Albanian myths can be divided into two major groups: legends of metamorphosis and historical legends.
Albanian folk tales were first recorded in the middle of the nineteenth century by European scholars such as Johann Georg von Hahn, the Austrian consul in Janina (Ioannina), Karl H. Reinhold and Giuseppe Pitrè. The next generation of scholars to take an interest in the collection of Albanian folk tales were primarily philologists, among them well-known Indo-European linguists concerned with recording and analysing a hitherto little known European language: Auguste Dozon, Jan Jarnik, Gustav Meyer, Holger Pedersen, Gustav Weigand and August Leskien.
The nationalist movement in Albania in the second half of the nineteenth century, the so-called Rilindja period, gave rise to native collections of folklore material such as the 'Albanian Bee' (Albanike melissa / Belietta shqiptarë) by Thimi Mitko, the 'Albanian Spelling Book' (Albanikon alfavetarion / Avabatar arbëror) by the Greco-Albanian Anastas Kullurioti and the 'Waves of the Sea' (Valët e Detit) by Spiro Dine. In the last thirty years, much field work has been done by the Institute of Folk Culture in Tirana and by the Institute of Albanian Studies in Prishtinë, which have published numerous collections of folk tales and legends. Unfortunately, very little of this substantial material has been translated into other languages.
List of legends, myths, ballads, and characters
Some of the best known legends, concepts, ballads, songs and/or characters of Albanian folk beliefs.
- Bardha(Mountain Spirit)
- Baloz (Sea Serpent)
- Bolla (Storm Dragon)
- Bushtra (Swamp dwelling shapeshifting witch)
- Constantin and Doruntinë
- Dhampir (Half vampire half human)
- Demeter / Dhemeter
- Djall (Devil)
- Djinn (Islamic demon)
- Dreq (Demon)
- Drangue (Winged semi humans)
- E bija e Henës dhe e Diellit
- E Bukura e Dheut (fair lady of the earth)
- E Bukura e Detit (fair lady of the sea)
- E Bukura e Qiellit (fair lady of the sky)
- En (God of Fire)
- Gjergj Elez Alia
- Hajnjeri (man eating giant)
- Judi (Ghost Giant)
- Kacamisri (similar to Tom Thumb)
- Katallan (giant)
- Karkanxholl (werewolf)
- Keshete (naiad)
- Kukudh (Plague Demon)
- Kuçedra (Multi headed dragon)
- Lamia (Half snake half woman)
- Laure (Shapeshifting Hag)
- Lugat (Vampire)
- Ljubi (Demoness)
- Muji edhe Halili
- Nuse mali (Nymph of the Mountain)
- Perëndi (God of Thunder)
- Perit (Storm God)
- Prende (Goddess of Love)
- Princess Argjiro
- Shtojzovalle (sylph)
- Shtriga (Vampiric Witch)
- Shejntona / Sentona
- Stihi (Demonic Dragon)
- The Tale of the Eagle
- Tomor (giant)
- Thopc (gnome)
- Vurvolaka (Vampiric ghoul)
- Ymer Agë Ulqini
- Xhindi (genie)
- Zana e malit (Mountain Fairy)
- "The Mythology of Albania", in American, African, and Old European Mythologies, ed. Yves Bonnefoy, trans. Wendy Doniger. Chicago–London: University of Chicago Press, 1993, pp. 253–4.
- Eqrem Çabej. "Albanische Volkskunde", Südost-Forschungen 25 (1966): 333–87.
- Robert Elsie (1994). Albanian Folktales and Legends. Naim Frasheri.
- Robert Elsie. A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology and Folk Culture. London: Hurst & Company, 2001. 375 p.
- Martin Mato "New View on old Text" in newspaper Albanian Daily News, f 10 30 Nov. 1996, Tiranë