Albanian traditions and festivals

Albania is a country where traditions, folklore and festivals are of great importance. Throughout the year, Albania’s calendar of festivals and holidays is full of events in which Albanians and anyone who happens to be on holiday in the country at the time take part.

Albanian traditions and festivalsFestivals and events in Albania

The performing arts are important to Albanians, and their classical traditions are as alive today as they were in the past. But that does not mean that Albanians are stuck in the past; the National Festival of Urban Folk Songs , for example, performs a modern interpretation of traditional music. Another example of a participatory event is the Korca Beer Festival, four days to celebrate the love of beer.

The most important Albanian holiday is Independence Day. It is celebrated on 28 November.  On 8 March, Albanians celebrate Mother’s Day. It is celebrated in many ways, but one of the traditions is to give a sprig of mimosa as a gift.

Albanians celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve with great enthusiasm. It is usually spent with family and friends. Other Albanian holidays include Bayram Day, the Islamic holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan; Teacher’s Day, Mother Teresa Day, National Youth Day, Liberation Day, Children’s Day and May Day, the international workers’ day.


National Festival of Urban Popular Songs

Every month of March , this festival is organised as a tribute to the folk songs performed in towns and villages in Albania.  The city of Elbasan hosts the celebration on the first day of spring each year and welcomes artists from all over Albania to showcase their talent.

Korça Beer Festival

Considered the largest public celebration in Albania, the Korca Beer Festival in August serves thirsty Albanians over 14,000 pints of beer during four consecutive nights of festivities. Korca is Albania’s oldest and favourite beer brand, and is named after the city that hosts the event every August . Traditional food, live music with some international bands playing and plenty of dancing are on the festival programme.

Gjirokaster Folk Festival

This important festival takes place in September every four years in southern Albania. First organised in 1968, the event aims to showcase an interesting variety of folk musicians and artists from the Balkans and the surrounding area. The last event attracted more than 1,000 artists, one of the highlights being the iso-polyphonic style of Albanian folk singing, which has been chosen by UNESCO as “intangible cultural heritage”.

International festival of modern and contemporary dance

Held in Durres every October, this festival focuses on international contemporary dance in Albania. The organisers decided to organise the first edition because they believed that Albania was too immersed in its own popular scene and that there was a need to modernise the culture.

Tirana International Film Festival

The Tirana International Film Festival is held every year in November. First held in 2003, it combines short films and large format films.

Kënga Magjike (Magical Song)

This is another important musical event in the Albanian territories, in which singers and bands from Albania and neighbouring countries participate. Songs from this contest have become hits for Albanians all over the world.

Below is a list of public holidays in Albania :

1 January – 2 January. New Year’s Day, Viti i Ri

14 March. Summer Day, Dita e Verës

22 March. Order Day, Nowruz Dita e Sulltan Nevruzit Bektashi
27 March – 27 March;
27 March – 28 March. The date of Catholic Easter, Pashkët Katolike

1 May – 2 May. The date of Orthodox Easter Pashkët Ortodokse

1 May .Dita Ndërkombëtare e Punonjësve, Labour Day

5 July. The date of Eid al-Fitr Bajrami i Madh (Fitër Bajrami)

5 September. Mother Teresa, Dita e Nënë Terezës Day

12 September. The date of Eid al-Adha Bajrami i Vogël (Kurban Bajrami)

28 November. Independence Day, Dita e Pavarësisë. Albanian Declaration of Independence

29 November. Liberation Day, Dita e Çlirimit
8 December;
8 December. Youth Day, Dita Kombëtare e Rinisë
8 December;
25 December Christmas Day, Krishtlindjet

Unofficial holidays

6 January Epiphany, Uji i Bekuar

2 March Lezhë League Day, Dita e Besëlidhjes së Lezhës

7 March Teacher’s Day, Dita e Mësuesit
1 June Children’s Day, Dita e Mësuesit

1 June Children’s Day, Dita Ndërkombëtare e Fëmijëve
15 August Assumption of Mary, Dita Ndërkombëtare e Fëmijëve

15 August Assumption of Mary, Dita Shën Marisë o Pashka e Vogël

22 November Alphabetom Day, Dita e Alfabetit
28 November Constitution Daym Dita e Alfabetit

28 November Constitution Daym Dita e Kushtetutës
28 November Constitution Daym Dita e Kushtetutës

6 December St. Nicholas Day, Dita e Shën Kollit

24 December Christmas Eve

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