Did you think that the so-called “janare” were dark figures linked only to the Benevento area? But no. They also exist in Salerno, in the magical setting of the Amalfi Coast, a stone’s throw from the Maritime Republic of Amalfi. To be precise, in Punta Vreca, the viewpoint from which you can admire the breadth of the panorama of Conca dei Marini. Conca is an ancient Roman colony. Village of sailors since always, the women of the Amalfi Coast have suffered from melancholy and lack and why it is soon said. Men sailed the seas for a long time and wives stayed at home waiting for news brought from afar, on the wings of the wind.
The area of the field of olive trees in the upper part of this small and enchanting town is the scene of one of the most disturbing legends, that of the Janare, the women-witches who in the 16th century animated the nights of the village by launching “invoices” and preparing filters love or potions against the evil eye.
Conca dei Marini has always been a village of sailors and, therefore, it often happened and happened that men were missing for months, having to fathom the sea far and wide. It can happen, therefore, that a wife abandoned in this way hides so much melancholy, so much unfulfilled desire and so much frustration that she turns into a janara.
According to legend, the Janare indulged in unbridled sexual practices. These creatures gathered at night on top of the trees near the coast, dressed only in long nightdresses, waiting for the fishermen’s boats. Once sighted, they began to attract the crew in every way: with songs, sweet words or showing nudity. Once they fell into the trap the janare mated with them, venting their instincts. The sexual encounter ended in a not too pleasant way for the fishermen who ended up becoming the sacrificial victims of janare to nature and the sea.
The origin of the name Janara
The origin of the name “Janara” seems to come from “Dianara“, that is, a follower of Diana, the Roman goddess of hunting and nature. They are witches who channel the powers of nature, so they are neutral, benevolent entities. They are creatures who feel women’s pain, nostalgia and loneliness. It is said that the Janare brought news of loved ones far away, even from overseas, traveling on the wings of the wind. The legends tell that the janare also manage to fly over the oceans and that they exploit this ability to reassure the wives of the emigrants on the health condition of their husbands, going as far as America to find information.
A little clarity
The legendary voices that turned from mouth to mouth, probably spoke, in reality, of the women of the country who gathered in their sadness. Leave their husbands alone, with disused clothes or perhaps dressed in “mourning”. Maybe dressed only in long night dresses and covered by evening shadows.
These sorrowful souls gathered in their grief and could easily be mistaken for witches.