Catalogue of Exhibition "Where has Zduhać gone?"

In Serbia, it was widely believed that there were particular people who were able to protect their property , village or region from destructive action of the blind forces.  “Their main function  was to  protect rural  households, sometimes even  wider areas  from  hail clouds,  storms,  floods  or  droughts. In  this  way  they provided rich  harvest,  and  therefore  the  existence  of their  fellow  villagers”.    
Such  an  individual,  mostly  an  adult  man,  was  known  as  zduhac,  zduhac, zduvac,  stuhac,  zduha,  zduva,  vetrovnjak,  vjetreni  vojvoda  (wind  duke)  or gradobranitelj  (hail-defender).
“When  he  felt  a  disaster  getting  closer,  such  a  man would  seclude  himself  or  fell asleep on the place where he was caught by the disaster. Then, his soul would go and fight with leaders of the disaster.  After he had dispelled the danger, he would  awake,  all  sweaty  and  tired  of  fighting.”
One  could  not  become  zduhac,  but  was  rather  born  as  such.  There  was  no initiation of zduhac, but a child, or an offspring of an animal that was born in the caul (placenta) could have become a hail-defender, provided its caul was preserved.
In Serbian folk religion , zduhacs belonged to the people possessing demonic qualities.  Unlike witches, mora or  urokljivac  who also belonged  to  the  group  of people  with  demonic  qualities,  zduhacs  did  not  harm,  but  helped  their
community .
“Zduhac  does  not  belong  to  “evil  spirits”,  as  the  other  demons,  but  if  he  put  his strength  and  knowledge in  the  service  of the  devil, he could  become a  vampire after death".

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