How do Albanians Celebrate?

I think we all agree on the fact that December goes by so fast and suddenly we find ourselves preparing for Christmas and New Year. I have a love-hate relationship with December, to be honest. I love it because it seems that is a time that brings people together and suddenly everyone is reflecting on the year that they are about to leave behind. On the other hand, this month is associated with a lot of expenses mainly for gifts about the loved ones and because Albanian mothers have this terrible urge of transforming the house into a supermarket, where you can find all kinds of groceries, drinks, desserts etc. Most probably, you wont even eat half of it, but it doesn’t mind…That’s how Albanians celebrate!

As we all know, during the communist regime, Enver Hoxha banned the freedom of religion and Albania became the first atheist country of the world. What a great start, right?

However, after the fall of communism, Albanians got to experience too the joy of celebrating and practicing their own religion. The majority of people in Albania are Muslims but you must’ve heard that here that it doesn’t matter because we all respect each other’s religion and we celebrate Eid in the same way we celebrate Christmas, all together.

In most Albanian families, there is a specific time to do the Christmas tree and that is on December 5th but those who feel in themselves the Christmas Spirit more than others usually do it on December 1st. And all suddenly, everyone is asking you “ What are you buying me for Christmas/New Year?”. That is a question I am trying to avoid this year.

The holidays energy and spirit is being felt everywhere, especially in Tirane since is the capital of Albania. Skanderbeg square doesn’t look that empty anymore; every year the square serves as a Christmas market, where small wooden houses offer a cozy place to stay, relax and drink hot wine or beer with your friends or family. You can spot all around the little children who seem to enjoy these days more than everyone and you can see them laughing out loud, begging their mothers and fathers for money to take a ride in the playground. Everything is shining and it feels good.

Albania Winter holidays celebration

On Christmas Day, every family makes sure that the table is full because a lot of people will be coming, even the people that my mother says will show up but never do, so there’s extra for anyone who wants to join.

Turkey and delicious desserts are the main dishes on Christmas day and on New Year’s Eve. A specialty of the Albanian Christmas/New Year’s dinner is "Bakllava", the famous dessert originally from Turkey.

And without even noticing, Christmas is over and then there comes the New Year. And if Christmas is all about family, New Year on the other hand is for family until 12: 00 PM, and then is for friends and partying until morning. If you are fortunate enough, you will have two days off to rest and come back to the “normal state of being”, if not straight to work. Fair enough!

©Elda Ndoja, Ecotour Albania

Six drinks the more consumed in Albania

Raki :

This is the traditional Albanian drink and is also the most alcoholic drink consumed in Albania. Raki can be produced by almost every fruit. This drink can be consumed before or after the meals and sometimes even in the morning, while having a coffee. The most well-known raki is the one of Skrapari. In certain regions like Korça, Pogradec or Diber the raki from plums is very famous. In the south regions like Erseke or Leskovik, they produce the raki from berries.



The coffee is very important for Albanians and for their lifestyle. It’s in bars, instead of offices, where lots of deals are closed. Coffee can be also drunk at homes. There it is served as Turkish coffee. While in bars the Italian express is the most frequent. It is consumed all day long.





large_glass-of-beer-412029_1280.jpgBeer :

The consumption of beer is also very big in Albania. There are some beers produced in Albania like: Tirana, a blonde beer with a sweet taste, Elbar and the best of all, Korça, produced in the city with the same name. These beers can be easily found everywhere across the country as well as imported beers.





large_vin.jpgWine :

Weather your choice is white or red, you won’t be disappointed. The best are the merlot and the cabernet, and also some wines produced from local grapes such as the wines of Korça and Shkodra. In villages it is common that families produce their own wine. Even though, this wine is bitter authenticity lovers will be delighted.




large_boza.jpgBozë :

This drink has 4 ingridients corn and wheat flour, sugar and water. The Albanian Bozë is slightly different from the Turkish, Bullagarian or Macqedonian boza.





large_dhalle.jpgDhallë :

 It can be also considered like salty, liquid yogurt. It’s mainly consumed during the summer.

Weather they are drinking raki, wine or beer, usually they make a toast and say “Gezuar”, which means “Cheers”.