Albania as a country takes their holidays seriously. I know I’ll never have as many days off as I have here in a country that observes Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox holidays as well as other state and international celebrations.
However, even for Albanians March is a holiday-heavy month. This year I had the advantage of knowing what to expect when, the day before women’s day, my counterpart said “Laura, you need to wear a dress tomorrow – we’re going to dance.” And, I had the opportunity to spend the days off with some of my favorite people here in Albania, enjoying the early spring weather.
Dita e Grave // International Women’s Day – March 8th // Celebrated with the women I work with at the Bashkia with a day dancing at a lokal by the beach and with a dinner with the women from the American School in Lezhe.
Dita e Veres // Summer Day – March 14th // Dita e Veres is a distinctly Albanian holiday, involving traditions of making sugar cookies and tying friendship bracelets around your friends’ wrists (why, I don’t know). It’s usually done up most in Elbasan, but I celebrated with some pals from work, again at the beach.
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17th // Ok. Not Albanian at all. But we Americans celebrated with a night out in Tirana and green dye for our brews
…and for this week’s Novruz – March 22nd, I will be at my counterpart Yllka’s house teaching her how to make brownies and eating lunch together.
All examples of cultural exchange at it’s best!