New Year’s Day celebration in Albania

When December comes around, we see a festive atmosphere everywhere with decorated green trees in the Albanian homes, shop windows and town squares. Buildings wrapped in green, business areas decorated with lights and ribbons and all manners of decorations. A Happy New Year, that greeting is said and heard for at least the first couple of weeks as New Year gets under way.Round the world different cultures have their own traditions of welcoming the New Year holiday but leta��s pass on the traditional celebration of this holiday in Albania.

The 31stA�of December marks the beginning of the New Year celebration. New Year has been the most popular and important holiday of the year. The joyful atmosphere prevails everywhere through December. People start preparations for the seasonal holidays and the malls are crowded with people shopping for the big New Years table and gifts especially for the children , that so much long for this holiday . New Yeara��s holiday celebration has always been a traditional feast for the Albanians even during the times of isolation, andA�it is strange enough that the Christmas tree is still being called the New Year tree. Something inherited from the communist regime. Big dinner usually starts at 9pm. And most of the TV channels show festive programs, and on New Yeara��s Day people watch TV as part of theirA�festivities.

A big concert is always held at Scanderbeg Square in the heart of Tirana, where young people gather together and enjoy the years change. The Albanians respect family values so much, so whenever they decide to celebrate, they do it together with their entire family.

The same goes for New Yeara��s Day. Albanian people usually prefer the celebration of this popular holiday at home. It has become a tradition to celebrate the first few minutes of the brand new year in the company of family and friends.

The big party usually lasts until midnight. After the ringing in of the New Year people gather at Scanderbeg Square count down at one minute before midnight, when the clock strikes 12pm. A�People hug and kiss, wishing each other all the best for the new coming year. Noise making and fireworks are seen everywhere not only downtown but also on the suburbs of Tirana. Throwing fireworks from the balconies, restaurants, bars and joyful cheers are heard everywhere. It seems that the sky is on fire thus helping the creation of a spectacular effect on this special day.

Now leta��s come to the most important part of our reportage that is New Yeara��s big dinner. This popular holiday is the feasting of warm fellowship and enjoyment of New Yeara��s cooking in the table. New yeara��s dinner in Albania features a big turkey, stuffed with roasted chestnuts , raising, cannella and onions that is put in the middle of the table . And we pass on to the roast beef,A�roast pig, meat balls etc . A silver coin is placed inside the pie or cake.A� Whoever finds the coinA�in their piece will be especially lucky during the coming year. Vegetables have become popular and widely used. We cannot forget the plate decorations with pickles , cabbages , tomatoes , baked potatoes , Russian mixed salad made of peas carrots pickles cucumbers beans and mayonnaise.A� Tave dheu, hot dish made of lambA� intestines, meat, tomatoes peppers and ricotta cheese . The third course consists of the queen of the sweets, Bakllava , apple creamed cake , shendetlie made of honey and butter.

In the company of theA�king of the wine, that is red wine, Cabernet , Shesh I zi , Merlot and of course white wine, all of them homemade products of Albania.A� We cannot forget another drink made in our country, a traditional and popular drink that is Raki Grappa .

During the last years, the Albanian celebrate the New Yeara��sA� holidays even in restaurants of abroad via different travel agencies operating in Albania . The Albanian restaurants offer rich menus of high quality , food and service . In general, food has Turkish, Greek and Italian influencesA�, but also Albanian specialties. Each region has its characteristic traditional food .

On the 1stA�of January the Albanians visit friends, relatives and neighbors. Therea��s plenty to eat and drink when you just drop in to wish your loved ones and friends the best for the year ahead.A� Traditionally it was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did in at first day of the year .It is believed that the first visitor on the New Year day would bring either good luck of bad luck the rest of the year.

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