The Croatian Post Ltd. Mostar issued a commemorative postage stamp featuring Myths of European cornel or Cornelian cherry.
The cornelian cherry was at first very costly and holds many myths about its usage as nutrition, at wedding and at war.
Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas L.), is a bush or short tree from the dogwood family Cornaceae.
It grows on the vast area of the Balkan Peninsula and Central Europe up to Caucasus and Small Asia.
It is known by its yellow flowers, edible red sour berries (European cornel), but also as a rigid, heavy and tough tree.
It may grow up to 8 meters in height and can reach a lifetime of over 200 years.
Myths of European cornel
The Cornelian cherry is inherent in human nutrition for 7000 years already, taking into consideration evidence of the remnants of human meals from North Greece from the New Stone Age (neolitic).
In Croatian onomastics the name appears in the 14th century in folk names such as Drijenko, Drenislav, last names such as Dreni?, Drenovac, Drnovšek and in names of places such as Drenica, Drenov Klanac, Drenje, Drinovci and others.
The cornelian cherry was at first very costly being held for a very healthy tree („Healthy as a cornelian cherry“ – „Zdrav kao drijen“).
That is why people washed their faces with water in which cornelian cherry branches were soaked in.
On Palm Sundays, they were carried to church for blessings, then put on the roof and in rooms, and in cases of storms were thrown in the fire as a defense against thunder strikes.
In older times the European cornel or cornelian cherry was used in wedding augury, in which harmony was wished to be maintained and fertility amongst the spouses.
The young bride would look at the groom through the cornelian cherry wreath saying: „One pine, two pines, and third white little pine“.
That meant that they wished for two male children, then a third female child.
In ancient Rome, the priest that was in charge of announcing war to their enemies would carry a spear of cornelian cherries to the borders.
In folk songs a hero knew he was ready for combat if he was able to squeeze two drops of water from a dry cornelian cherry branch.
Title: Myths of European cornel through stamps
Date of Issue: 22 May 2016
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Denominations: 5.00 BAM
Source: Croatian Post Ltd. Mostar