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Meet the Two Volatile Misses: Bura and Jugo Winds

A light breeze on a hot summer day - it’s a very welcome means of refreshment. Would you give it a second thought? Probably not. But people at the seaside in Croatia would. Popular songs have been sung, important pieces of literature written, generally known sayings coined, its effects discussed over coffee - yes, many get really wound up by the wind.

Don’t mess with Miss Bura

When Miss Bura gets furious, don’t think about flying kites. Run. No, run for your life! Bura (‘bora’ wind) is a type of a northeasterly gusty wind of legendary strength that rushes down the Dinaric Alps towards the sea occasionally creating a specific phenomenon of opaque fog. It’s present throughout the year. If your plane cannot land, it’s bura. If you cannot cross the Maslenica bridge to get to Zadar, it’s bura. Just like an innocent remark can stir up unexpected trouble, so does bura appear - suddenly, lasts for days and pacifies after a while. But when she’s angry, she’s absolutely furious. More than a decade ago, the rage manifested itself with the speed of up to 304 km/h - the absolute record holder.

So, why is the wind a ‘she’, you might wonder? Thanks to folk tales? Yes. Thanks to its volatile nature, a characteristic often attributed to women? Could be. Be that as it may, a folks phrase says ‘(She was) born on the Dinara mountain, baptized in Makarska and married in Senj’. Indeed, in folk legends the wind is often related to a young haughty girl, whose sigh full of regret over a loss of former happy life causes the cold and forceful wind to appear. Another story says that bura is a girl injured every time someone curses the wind. It's generally known in Dalmatia: swear as much as you want, but leave bura out of it. Just embrace it, or else....

Sure, it' s a bone chilling wind and you'll never again feel so cold in your life if you meet Miss Bura during the winter months. Never ever. On the bright side, it will clear and refresh your mind and you’ll feel well. Needless to say that the best pršut (Cro. for dry-cured ham), one of the most favourite Croatian delicacies, tastes like heaven because it’s caressed by Miss Bura. Yes, people in Dalmatia have a real can’t-live-with-or-without-you relationship with this wind.

Hot mess of Miss Južina

Feel hungover, but you didn’t have a drop of alcohol the night before? Then you must have met Miss Južina, also known as jugo (pronounced ‘yoo-go’) (‘sirocco’ wind). Unlike bura’s sudden entrance, the southeastern jugo just creeps up on you and brings heavy sweltering weather, clouds and rain and can create big waves. Its negative influence on people is notorious so much that during the Republic of Dubrovnik (14-19th century) the authorities were lenient towards criminals who committed crimes while Miss Južina was dancing here dance.


More (than just) winds

Don’t be fooled into thinking that bura and jugo are the only types of wind at the Croatian seaside. There are plenty of others, such as maestral (‘mistral’ wind), the refreshing, generally liked summer breeze. Yet, none of them affects lives of the people at the seaside as much as Miss Bura and Miss Južina. The Misses are playful, tricky, unpredictable, but harmless unless you make them angry, real angry…