If you can say congratulations in Albanian, then a whole new world of social possibilities opens up to you. Imagine you're attending an Albanian wedding, and you see the bride and groom coming toward you. It would be ok to wish them congratulations in English, but the chances are you're the only person at the wedding that doesn't know how to do it in Albanian. Instead, you should have this phrase locked, loaded, and ready to go: 'urime.'
Before we go a bit more in-depth about congratulations in Albanian, I want to talk about where you can gain access to an abundance of Albanian learning materials. Ling has been making waves in recent years and is fast becoming one of the biggest language learning apps in the world.
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Albanians are a fun-loving people. Perhaps because the country has a significant Muslim population, there is a perception that the people are more conservative, but this is not the case, as we also found out in our 2021 article about Albanian weddings.
But weddings, new years, and birthdays aren't the only time you might get the opportunity to raise a beer and say Gëzuar. Several festivals throughout the year bring people out onto the streets and put them in a party mood.
The word pagan has all sorts of loaded connotations, but in Albania, it is viewed positively. Dita e Verës takes place on the same date every year, March 14. (Note: it is slightly confusing because Dita e Verës translates as summer day, whereas it is actually in the Springtime.
The origin story of Dita e Verës is complicated but centers around the Goddess Zana, who would remerge from her temple on March 14 and bring new life to the country.
The event is celebrated all over the country, but for the genuine experience, it is recommended that you go to Elbasan. Expect to see parades, concerts, and bonfires. The food eaten on the day is called ballakume, which is a cookie.
This can be one of the best days of the year, particularly if the pagan gods shine down on you and bring out the sunshine.
This is a bit strange as we can't think of any other festivals that take place once every five years. The festival happens at the Gjirokaster Castle in Southern Albania. The festival is all about traditional Albanian culture, including traditional music, clothing, and dance.
This is more of a music competition than a festival. It was inaugurated in 1999 by the broadcaster Televizioni Klan, a brainchild of Ardi Gjebrea. The event takes place in November. The idea is that the best singers in Albania launch entries which are then voted on by the general public. The style of music on the show could best be described as bubblegum pop; however, it is extremely popular with the general public.
Happy New Year In Albanian is Gëzuar vitin e ri. Notice the similarity between cheers and Happy new year.
Anthropologists have remarked that every country on earth celebrates the New Year somehow. The very concept of marking the years has driven technology onward, from the ancient builders of Stonehenge to physicists in 2022 working on nuclear clocks.
But how exactly do Albanians celebrate new year?
As you might expect, a big part of the evening revolves around food. Albanians put together what is colloquially known as a table of prosperity.
(Interesting sidenote: New Year became dominant in the last century during Enver Hoxha's communist regime. Religious holidays were outlawed, so secular holidays took precedence.)
The food is Albanian in character and includes Roasted turkey, beef, or lamb. A popular dessert(as you might have guessed if you've read our other articles)is baklava.
And of course, no celebration would be complete without rakia, which is the national drink of Albania and is a kind of fruit brandy with an aniseed taste. When I was there, it was served with ice and prune juice.
A unique Albania tradition is what's known as the hiding of the lek. A one lek coin is baked into a piece of soda bread and divided. The person who gets the cash is guaranteed to have success throughout the year.
According to another New Year tradition, if a little boy enters your house first with his right foot, you will be lucky.
So there we have it. Congratulations in Albanian.
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