March 14, 2012 - Summer Day in Albania

It's still winter in the Northern Hemisphere, as far as cold weather goes (at least in most places) and according to the calendar (the first day of spring is March 20). Albania is in the Northern why is today called “Summer Day” (Dita e Verës) in Albania?

Albania's biggest pagan festival, Summer Day, symbolizes the rebirth of nature, its awakening from the slumber of winter. According to the legend, the Mountain Muse comes out of her temple on this day, every year, to mark the departure of winter. These days, there are massive concerts and acrobats, magicians, and performers entertain the crowds on city streets. People wish each other good luck and prosperity, give small presents of food to children, and feast together. Some of the traditional foods include roast meat, lamb, turkey, chops, and steak (that's a lot of meat), sweets, and ballakums. Every description of Summer Day mentions ballakums. I even read that Summer Day just wouldn't be Summer Day without ballakums. It was hard to get anyone to say what they heck this indispensable food was, but I finally discovered that they are sweet cakes.

Albania is a European country near Greece. This short tourism video shows why we might all like a real summer day in Albania!  And this much longer slide show convinces me that Albania is as beautiful, ANY season of the year, as anywhere in the world. 

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