|Bosnian Traditions Bosansko Sijeloî: A Bosnian Coffee Party|
One cannot enter a Bosnian house without being offered coffee, which like British tea,
means a small meal and not just coffee! Elaborate homemade pastries, talk, singing, and
women's handcrafts are all a part of the more elaborate and very social women's get-
together. Bosnian coffee itself, which is made like Turkish coffee (grounds are boiled and
allowed to settle) and served with lump sugar and slightly sweet candies, is strong, thick,
and served in small cups like espresso. Coffee parties provide a time to sit down, rest, and
catch up on local events and family matters. TOP
Music and dance are part and parcel of Bosnian social life. As in many Eastern bloc and European countries, folk music and dance are taught to children in school; young adults are encouraged to study folk dance and music at university.
Folk festivals and
competitions between performing arts groups were a major part of Bosnian life, and amateur groups called Cultural Art Societies were common throughout the republic.
Required to perform the dance, music, andsong of Bosnia, Croatian, and Serbia, they
were often not permitted to specialize in the traditions of only one group. In Iowa there are two folk dance groups, Sevdah in Des Moines and K.U.D. Kolo in
Waterloo. The adult leaders of both of these groups encourage their students to study the
language, song, music, and culture of their former homeland as well as the traditional
dance. Bosnian musicians in Iowa can be heard in bars and at social events. The bands play social
dance music, and young and old join in traditional line dances that weave their way around
the dance floor. There is usually a minimal barrier between audience and band, so patrons enthusiastically join in with the singing of popular and traditional songs. TOP
Text by Riki Saltzman. Photos by Will Thomson, Bill Lockwood, & Riki Saltzman.