We are famously known as a country of religious harmony and as such, we celebrate and pay our honors to every sacred day on the calendar, be it a Christian, Muslim, Orthodox, or Bektashi holiday. A couple of days ago, on March 22nd Albanians welcomed the first day of spring otherwise known as Nowruz, which also marks the Persian New Year. Interestingly enough, this celebration comes a week after the Pagan Summer Day, on March 14th. We do love holidays, don’t we?!
More on that matter, on April 4 we will enjoy dyeing eggs in different colors, decorating and hunting them to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Catholic Albanians will attend the services at the St. Paul Cathedral in Tirana and in all other catholic churches throughout the country. Catholicism is the second largest religion in Albania and Easter celebration is concentrated mostly in cities such as Tirane, Shkoder, Lezhe, Mirdite, and Durres.
While Christianity uses the Gregorian calendar, Orthodoxy has embraced the Julian one. Therefore, Easter is celebrated on a different date from the Catholic Easter and as the third major religion in Albania, Orthodox Easter is a holiday too. This year, Pashkët (from the word Pasque meaning Passover) will be celebrated on May 2nd, a month later from catholic Easter. In Tirana, services will be held at the Orthodox Cathedral and in the south and south-east part of the country namely in the cathedral of Korca and churches of Gjirokastra and Berat.
Nevertheless, festivities follow for the most part the same rituals. Red painted eggs are a symbol of the day, as well as colorful and decorated ones. Cracking them or going for a hunt is the interesting part of the celebration along with lamb meat, Easter bunnies, bread, presents, and family gathering. After all, Easter is a holiday of resurrection and new life and its most important purpose is to bring people together.
© Ecotour Albania