Dita e Veres, or Summer day is a pagan holiday celebrated on the 14th of March in Albania. The idea is to celebrate the beauty of nature, rebirth, and the beginning of new life. A public holiday across the country, it sees thousands of Albanians take to the streets to celebrate with music, food, parties and more. Whilst the epicentre of the holiday is celebrated in the city of Elbasan, there are huge street parties and concerts in Tirana as well that go on until the early hours of the morning.
Yesterday, I dressed up in my brightest clothes and ventured outside to welcome the summer. Unfortunately, the weather had some other ideas and, I was met with grey, thunderous looking skies and a distinct chill in the air. I felt a bit conned to be honest, definitely more of a spring feeling than the hot balmy days of summer that I had been expecting.
I headed up to the boulevard and was met with throngs of people, some wearing flower crowns, others flying kites, and carrying flowers made from balloons. The trees that line the street had been wrapped in brightly coloured fabric, and large flower-shaped bunting hung between the trees, straddling the road. The sound of music reverberated in every direction from several sound systems set up, blaring out Albanian pop music.
Deciding I wanted somewhere a little less hectic to soak up the atmosphere, I headed back into Blloku and sat in Pepper Bar where I enjoyed a few (ahem) glasses of wine whilst listening to some live bands with some rather fantastic female vocalists. I am trying to track down their names, so if anyone knows who they were then please let me know!
Unfortunately, just as I was getting into the swing of things, the heavens decided to open and give us a rather unwelcome shower so I headed for the sanctuary of home. Whilst I may have given up early, I could hear the festivities continuing well into the early hours.
Gezuar, dita e veres!Follow The Balkanista!