Summer Festival, Albania
|Summer Day (Dita e Verës), which some people mistake as summer day.|
|Next time||14 March 2018|
Every year on March 14, the people of Albania celebrate Dita e Verës—translated as "The day of summer", the country's largest pagan festival. It is intended to celebrate the end of winter, the rebirth of nature, and a rejuvenation of spirit among the Albanians. Although the center of this festival is around Shkumbin region in Elbasan, the festival is widely celebrated in Tirana and as far afield as the Arbëresh colonies in Italy. In 2004, Summer Day became an official holiday in Albania.
On this day and even since March 1, many youngsters and unmarried people usually wear a traditional bracelet called verore (a word derived from summer) made of two thin braided strings usually red and white. At the end of the day, the bracelet is hung on a tree branch for good luck, and is believed that birds use it to build their nests. In recent years,[when?] festivities include a city marathon and are generally performed between 9 am and 9 pm. In Rinia Park, a circus show is put on the evenings and is packed with circus performers, acrobats and magicians and people celebrating the festival.
Dita e Veres is one of the oldest traditions in Elbasan. It is a community-wide event, with families often exchanging the traditional ballakume, a sugar and corn flour cookie, which is the symbol cookie of this day. Each family has its own recipe, considered a source of pride. People in Elbasan can be found during Dita e Veres, celebrating outside.
- Elsie, Robert (January 1, 2001). "A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology, and Folk Culture". NYU Press. Retrieved March 22, 2017 – via Google Books.
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