Summer Day and Pagan Holiday (Dita e Verës)


I’m off work today since it’s March 14th, meaning the official Summer Day in Albania. I always wondered why we put such a strong emphasis on the initial start of the summer/spring since we definitely don’t miss the super hot summer days for at least 6 months. But being a pagan holiday it symbolizes revival of nature, flourishing of plants, and rejuvenation of spirits awaken from the cold winter days. It’s the first day of the year according to the BC Grigorian calendar. Therefore, the national celebration of the Summer Day always occupied the streets with crowds of people walking along the boulevard, street performances and summer festivals, happy kids on playgrounds, special sweets named “ballokume”, etc.

Sunny Summer Day in Tirana 2012

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The unwritten rule or belief throughout years has been that it doesn’t rain on the Summer Day. Actually as long as I can recall I didn’t rain, well until today. I don’t know what disappointed me the most, the constant rain crashing the celebrations in Tirana, or the fall of the “does-not-rain-alwayes-sunshine” myth. Nevertheless, I still went out in the city today, got a couple of ballokume, few snapshots of the rainy empty streets and children playgrounds, and got home happily soaking wet. Happy Summer Day to everyone! It’s still there, just hiding in the next corner…

Faded Summer Day in Tirana 2013

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Same old traditional sweets : Ballokume Elbasani

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