It’s no surprise each time I spend my Christmas & New Year holidays in Germany I’m usually asked how we celebrate these holidays in Albania. Then I go over the main distinctions as Christmas is not huge in former communist countries unlike in Germany where the notorious Christmas markets stick around for about a month which I highly oppose as I think they should be there for the entire winter. My Christmas in Hamburg are followed by an absolute 3 days parental feeding/R&R at my boyfriend’s parents, spoiled by the warmth and love these holidays convey. A real magical atmosphere that spikes up in delight of Christmas ornaments, decor, and gift exchange, which slowly fades away as Sylvester (New Year) approaches. Quite the opposite in Tirana. As Christmas is not that big of a deal, New Year instead is. That’s when every woman household displays a large variety of food combination that in case you survive without being sick to your stomach from the “mishmash” of turkey, lamp, Russian salad, baklava, and Raki you obviously did not have that big of a fun. There’s so much good food being cooked that can glut the appetite of 10 people and will probably last for the next 2-3 days. That’s how New Year celebration looks in Tirana, the bigger the better, and after 12 pm find your shoes to escape the big fat family gathering for finally getting unleashed with friends in some downtown party, pre-booked of course.
To my surprise 2014 was presented with a new ritual: Dinner for One. We got to watch Dinner for One, my boyfriend said, before we went out to wait for the real firework explosion at Altonaer Balkon. So we did. We watched Miss Sophie and her butler James – a brilliant comedy sketch written by British author Lauri Wylie back in 1920s which went in to be the most frequent aired comedy by German TV. Since 1963 this 18 minutes black-and-white British sketch has become an integral part of New Year’s Eve in Germany. Therefore, this year was not an exception, about 15 million Germans viewed Dinner for One. Meanwhile in England most people don’t even know that Dinner for One is a British comedy, or that it exists. For those of you who don’t really know what I’m blubbering on, take 18 minutes of your time to enjoy “Dinner for One”, you will not regret it. Enjoy!