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  • #344812

    Anonymous

    Is there any lore, myth, or importance behind the Hazel/Лещина tree in Slavic culture and history?

    I know we had a post about trees but I couldn't find anything about Hazel (unless my eye sight is truly worse than I thought it was)… if I missed it, please feel free to smack me upside the head and point me in the right direction. :)

    Thanks in advance!

    #405713

    Anonymous

    Yes, it is, at least in Slovak folklore. People believed that lieska (the hazel) is sacred, they associated it with female goddesses, or in Christianity with Virgin Mary. It was forbidden to cut it down – just like the oak. Hazel nuts could drive the storm away, or if one hides under the hazel, a thunderbolt doesn't stroke to this person. Hazel nuts could make people invulnerable. A hazel twig may even show you a way to the buried treasure.  :)

    #405714

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Yes, it is, at least in Slovak folklore. People believed that lieska (the hazel) is sacred, they associated it with female goddesses, or in Christianity with Virgin Mary. It was forbidden to cut it down – just like the oak. Hazel nuts could drive the storm away, or if one hides under the hazel, a thunderbolt doesn't stroke to this person. Hazel nuts could make people invulnerable. A hazel twig may even show you a way to the buried treasure.  :)

    Love this! I hope more can share various other lore. I tried searching, but only did so in English. It's a task to search in other languages as I always have to translate and un-translate depending on how the site functions.  Are there any names or mythological creatures based on hazel/hazelnut? I found this one creature called a leshy.

    A quote from the site:

    “Watch out for the Leshy, for he is sly.
    Is that he? That tree?
    Or is that he? The wind in the tree?”

    (Russian Folk tale)

    In the Baltic and Slavic countries, there is a forest spirit or elf called a Leshy (the plural of which is Leshiye). The word ‘Leshy’ is derived from the old Slavonic word meaning “forest” – which is appropriate since the Leshy are the guardians of the forests. Leshy are also called Leszi in Polish; Leshii, Lychie or Leshy in Russian; or Laskowice in Old Slavic. These little guys protect wild animals and have an especially close relationship with the wolf. The Leshy are also seen as the guides and guardians of some domesticated creatures, like the reindeer.

    The Leshy live in the dark pine forests of the Baltic countries, although some have recently made their way to other areas of the world. They are all shape-shifters and can make themselves small enough to hide under leaves. They also can change into ancient and tall trees, forest animals or even whirlwinds of blowing dust and leaves. Usually the Leshy remain in human form, but they are easily recognized due to their blue skin, a result of their blue blood. The Leshy have green hair and long green beards, plus have green eyes which they can easily pop out of their sockets. Some sources say that they have curling horns and the cloven hoofs of a goat. The Leshy wear their clothes backwards and wear their shoes on the wrong feet.

    The Leshy can be cruel to those who abuse the forest or the wild creatures, or can be playfully malicious to those who just wander blindly into Leshy territory. It is often said that the Leshy is that which you can feel watching you in the woods, but never manage to see. That tingle up the spine and the raising of the hairs on the nap of the neck are sure signs of a Leshy being near-by. The Leshy’s most common activity is to cause travelers to become lost in the forest. In the winter a Leshy will brush away the footprints of travelers in the snow, so that they can not retrace their steps. During other times of the year they use magick to make every tree and landmark look the same. If you are out in the woods and have the misfortune to run into an unfriendly Leshy, the best way to thwart him is to wear your shoes on the wrong feet and your clothes backwards. This will confuse the Leshy who will not be able to tell which way you are going, and will therefore he will be unable to keep you from getting to your destination.

    #405715

    Anonymous

    I found this on the Russian Wikipedia (translated):

    ~It is believed that hazel associated with the world beyond the grave. Earlier, when it became holidays, owners nuts sprinkled on the floor and in the corners, to feed the soul.
    ~Czechs there was a belief that if you hit the walls of the house a branch of hazel, then run away from it all mice

    #405716

    Anonymous

    i think hazels were forbidden to cut down because its seeds only rarely grow. i seeded 5 nuts and not one began rooting. grandpa says i would need hundreds to get several bushes, of which maybe one would grow to maturity.
    and hazel twigs i think are used by every kind of charlatans, like magic-searchers or water-searchers…

    #405717

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    i think hazels were forbidden to cut down because its seeds only rarely grow. i seeded 5 nuts and not one began rooting. grandpa says i would need hundreds to get several bushes, of which maybe one would grow to maturity.
    and hazel twigs i think are used by every kind of charlatans, like magic-searchers or water-searchers…

    Interesting!

    I found this site in Russian…  http://drunemeton.itersuum.ru/hazel.htm  With the English translation, it's not tooo bad. Interesting stuff on it.

    #405718

    Anonymous

    Slavicmuse, the word Leshy isn't connected to the hazel.

    I found another facts about the hazel. This one is a Slovak proverb ->

    Keď leto na Leva príde, keď veľmi zarodí mak, buk a lieska, bude tuhá zima a mnoho sňahu. – When summer comes during the lion time, when poppy, beech and hazel have a lot of fruits, then there will be a very cold and frosty winter and a lot of snow.

    The hazel nut, among other things, is sacred to Perun too. But the hazel itself is sacred to Serča and Neserča. They are daughters of Usud, the god of destiny. A sign of Serča is a spider, Neserča turns into a magpie. Serča is a beautiful girl in golden clothes who spins the golden thread of destiny. She's a goddess of happiness, wealth and success. Her sister Neserča is an ugly old woman with squinted eyes. She's a gooddess of unhappiness, disaster, poverty and illness. She has own old servants, one-eyed Licho, Krivaja and Nelegkaja who bring cry, unhappiness, illness, poverty and laziness. Their symbols are weaving loom, spindle, spinning-wheel and ball of thread.

    The hazel was also needed during sorcery when women wanted to enchant men and make them love. This is a magic formula used by Slovak women in the 19th century:

    „A ty dub, ty ho ľúb,
    a ty buk, ty ho buď,
    a ty klen, ty ho žeň,
    a ty šíp, ty ho štíp,
    a ty lieska, za ním vrieskaj,
    a ty vaz, ty ho viaž,
    a ty svíb, ty ho šib!“


    And you oak, love him,
    and you beech, wake him up,
    and you maple, marry him,
    and you briar, sting him,
    and you hazel, scream at him,
    and you elm, tie him up,
    and you dogberry, whip him!"

    In a village Lopeník people used to say that there is a hazel whereunder there's an underground cave with treasure. If you say a magic formula this hazel will spin off. But be careful, the treasure is guarded by beasts and monsters.  :)

    If you find a snowberry growing on the hazel which is very rare, it should protect you from any sorcery.

    #405719

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Slavicmuse, the word Leshy isn't connected to the hazel. (…)

    Well, it seems to be, but more distantly. Polish leszczyna (hazel), laska (stick, Old Polish hazel), las (forest) all come from the same root.

    I think that there's something deeper than a simple connection between hazel and forest.

    #405720

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Slavicmuse, the word Leshy isn't connected to the hazel.

    I found another facts about the hazel. This one is a Slovak proverb ->

    Keď leto na Leva príde, keď veľmi zarodí mak, buk a lieska, bude tuhá zima a mnoho sňahu. – When summer comes during the lion time, when poppy, beech and hazel have a lot of fruits, then there will be a very cold and frosty winter and a lot of snow.

    The hazel nut, among other things, is sacred to Perun too. But the hazel itself is sacred to Serča and Neserča. They are daughters of Usud, the god of destiny. A sign of Serča is a spider, Neserča turns into a magpie. Serča is a beautiful girl in golden clothes who spins the golden thread of destiny. She's a goddess of happiness, wealth and success. Her sister Neserča is an ugly old woman with squinted eyes. She's a gooddess of unhappiness, disaster, poverty and illness. She has own old servants, one-eyed Licho, Krivaja and Nelegkaja who bring cry, unhappiness, illness, poverty and laziness. Their symbols are weaving loom, spindle, spinning-wheel and ball of thread.

    The hazel was also needed during sorcery when women wanted to enchant men and make them love. This is a magic formula used by Slovak women in the 19th century:

    „A ty dub, ty ho ľúb,
    a ty buk, ty ho buď,
    a ty klen, ty ho žeň,
    a ty šíp, ty ho štíp,
    a ty lieska, za ním vrieskaj,
    a ty vaz, ty ho viaž,
    a ty svíb, ty ho šib!“


    And you oak, love him,
    and you beech, wake him up,
    and you maple, marry him,
    and you briar, sting him,
    and you hazel, scream at him,
    and you elm, tie him up,
    and you dogberry, whip him!"

    In a village Lopeník people used to say that there is a hazel whereunder there's an underground cave with treasure. If you say a magic formula this hazel will spin off. But be careful, the treasure is guarded by beasts and monsters.  :)

    If you find a snowberry growing on the hazel which is very rare, it should protect you from any sorcery.

    WOW!  Such lore behind the hazel tree.  There is a reason I ask. And it's because a woman I was speaking to from Ukraine was helping me with some issues with my father's family concerning genealogy.  My prababa's surname was spelled many ways but this woman that was helping me said that it seemed the surname originally had something to do with the hazel. She's not 100% sure of it but said it was very possible.  So that made me curious about the significance of the hazel to Slavs to use a form of it as a surname.

    Quote:
    Well, it seems to be, but more distantly. Polish leszczyna (hazel), laska (stick, Old Polish hazel), las (forest) all come from the same root.

    I think that there's something deeper than a simple connection between hazel and forest.

    I do agree that there has to be something. In Russian and Ukrainian the word леш is forest, лещина is hazel in both languages. In Serbian/Croatian it is лешник. And then this forest creature – Leshy. I understand the connection between leshy and leš (forest).. but with hazel having such a similar root… there has to be something there just could be lost to us now.

    #405721

    Anonymous

    According to one legend from Slovenia 12 "carnival men" (pustovalci) fought each other to the death (fighting was traditional during carnivals) and from their graves grew 12 "holy" hazels.

    According to another myth concerning St. Til (I don't know English name) patron of hunters, a sinner can redeem himself by lying under hazel for seven years without food. After that time a hind came and nursed (breast feed) him and with this announced his salvation.

    Young hazel rod, wand has special power.

    Hazel in proverbs, sayings, etc. concerning hazel nuts;

    1) This ain't worth a damn hazel nut;

    meaning that it isn't worth anything.

    2) It is not good picking hazel nuts with the devil;

    meaning that it is not good having errand, businesses with the bad person.

    #405722

    Anonymous

    Slavicmuse, what's that surname if I may ask you?

    Quote:
    Well, it seems to be, but more distantly. Polish leszczyna (hazel), laska (stick, Old Polish hazel), las (forest) all come from the same root.

    I think that there's something deeper than a simple connection between hazel and forest.

    Ok, I meant it so that people called Leshy after Les (a forest), not after the hazel. Lieska (hazel) might be called after Les (forest) too..

    #405723

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Slavicmuse, what's that surname if I may ask you?

    Ok, I meant it so that people called Leshy after Les (a forest), not after the hazel. Lieska (hazel) might be called after Les (forest) too..

    Ah. I didn't think about your statement as such. I apologize.

    My prababa's surname is/was (various spellings I've come across in records):

    Lysczyszyn
    Leszozyszin
    Lyszczyszyn
    Leszczyszyn
    Lischishin
    Лишчишин
    Lyshchyshyn

    But was told by the Ukrainian woman I was in contact with that Lyshchshyn is the current spelling and is still found in the village my prababa came from.

    #405724

    Anonymous

    I've just reminded myself, that in Silesia nuts (especially hazelnuts) were (are?) commonly given as a Christmas present (or on St. Nicholas's Day).

    I received today a small sack of nuts  8)

    #405725

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    I've just reminded myself, that in Silesia nuts (especially hazelnuts) were (are?) commonly given as a Christmas present (or on St. Nicholas's Day).

    I received today a small sack of nuts  8)

    Oh wow! I love how there is so much lore around trees and nature itself… :) 

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