By Merita Bajraktari *
Throughout the years, we Albanian Americans praise and appreciate our Albanian culture, traditions, customs, food and while we make significant efforts at that, we are also very much interested into adapting ourselves to the new country, this great USA.
We often cherish and celebrate our important days and bring together our families to share, celebrate and these are always great and good things to do.
We do not get into the explanation of the “why’s” or the “what’s” but we know that it is good, it is beautiful and it is rewarding to do such things as mentioned above.
Most common celebrations are those days of Independence (Both Albania and Republic of Kosova), Albanian language school year endings, Mother’s Day but also other important days, according to the groups, regions and faith traditions.
We do make a genuine effort to get together and celebrate. We put our best costumes, we make sure our spouses and our children are available too and we bring our best cooking and dancing skills to work. We have personal, family and community fun!
We make a great effort to have a good time and when we have non Albanians among us, who likewise have a good time, we find ourselves saying or emphasizing things that sound like: “This is the Albanian way”, “this is how Albanians do it”, “it is an Albanian thing”…or whatever other phrase that indicates “this is good because it is Albanian, or this is Albanian, therefore it is good”.
I think, during these events, we associate the good fun with that of “Albanian way” and with what had made us feel good in the past, when we were in Albanian land. I am not a psychologist, so am just taking the guess here. Nevertheless, I wish to say that every time we have such a good event we rightfully take pride and enjoy it.
But what do we do to help more with it.
I do not know about the reader, each one has his or her own experience, but I have found many times that a lot of people get together and invite speakers that teach common sense to them. Recently I attended such a talk on “the economy of household”.
Everything that the great speaker said, was great, true and beautiful.
Yet, I felt there was nothing new to me personally as I felt he was describing the Albanian traditional family (at least the one I grew up and those of my cousins and neighbors).
He was emphasizing the great role of the family’s togetherness- I reflected I was so much with my family that at times I wanted to be alone at times 😊.
He pointed to the need of parents and children doing things together, so the children can learn but also appreciate the work. Not only that but the parents really get to know their children- I reflected on that and recalled the daily work we did together, whether was cleaning the house, doing the dishes, cooking together, digging the fields, harvesting fruits, harvesting honey, making winter food, making mud bricks and attending weddings and funerals. All together. I was yearning to be a bit alone those days 😊
The speaker spoke of how we (America and the West) have lost the traditional family of pre-industrial and sexual revolution, meaning those of pre-1950.
He was talking about outsourcing of care and “love” for the children. That is sad indeed.
As Thanksgiving is approaching here in the USA and as the families are rushing to prepare for this great feast, traveling for thousands of miles so they can cherish the family and thank God for all the abundant blessings, I can say that for us Albanians, the family togetherness has been a steady feature turned into a virtue. It is a great quality. A wonderful lesson for the world to appreciate and learn from. And we should preserve it and promote it.
I like to invite all to continue to be proud of our heritage, to cherish our traditional family and the values while we integrate in this great country. We can be giving what we have as best and receiving what is offered as best.
We have so much good to share about Albanian way of family life. And not just one day, but as a way of living in such a community which since in times of Aristotle was defined and loved as the basic unit of the society. Today is very much on the focus of dark forces to be destroyed. In another article I would share about those attacks on the family. For now:
Happy and a Blessed thanksgiving to all!
Happy Albanian Flag Day too!!
- This article reflects Author’s views and not necessarily those of the newspaper. The Author is an Albanian Immigrant, citizen of the USA. She is a wife, mother and Higher Education professional. Her free time she dedicates to her family, parish and community. She is an author and speaker on “Life under Communism in Albania”. Her twitter handle is @emershqip