The New Year is quite a major celebration time for all Albanians everywhere. Families and friends come together to be with each other and many preparations are made especially for the dinner on the New Year’s Eve, which lasts for several hours into the New Year day.
The dinner celebration is often marked by large amounts of food which is at least double of what people consume for regular meals. Moreover, they prepare the best food that they can afford and try to eat as much of it as they can during the long dinner hours. To a degree this is a sign of their overall wealth and well being, but also for the simple joy of it.
However, there are other reasons behind it which go back to the times during the communist times of Albania.
The economic status of people was very poor and the food resources were very limited both in amount as well as quality. And as the then atheist/communist government had banned all religious celebrations people would almost have only one main day time in the year to call their own and to celebrate freely. That is, the New Year!
Some of the more traditional dishes are; the oven baked turkey, Russian salad, a Turkish delight called “kadaif”, and several more, which I don’t care to remember as I’m mainly focused on the best part – that is – consuming them
Some at home and some at restaurants
For those who celebrate the New Year at home, the time is spent mainly eating and watching the special programs offered on the local TV stations prepared especially for that day. For those who can afford it and/or just want to skip the whole food preparation burden, the night can be spent out in a restaurant of choice, most often with together with other families or friends. Most have always celebrated it at home with family and friends, but there is a small but growing trend to go out.
Another aspect is the fact that most people like to go out after the clock hits 12 AM. People like to hang out and meet with friends, especially the youth in Tirana and other cities as well.
Fireworks or some form of noise
Albanians love fireworks. We love the way they explode; the smell, the many colors, shapes and forms; and most obviously the loud blasting sound that they make. It is just weird at times how much we like the sound and site of fireworks and how people seem to not be bothered by it. Thankfully the number of causalities from such blasts has been diminished thanks to a better control over the types of fireworks that enter the country, but still the problem persists and people do get hurt.
Anyway, one thing is for sure; the New Year season is and will continue to remain quite an important and traditional celebration for Albanians for many years to come.