Albania has a lot of unique wedding traditions, many of them are truly adorable. For example, Albanians often involve little boys in different wedding rituals. Or they greet the bride with gunfire, which is very emotional and thrilling, if you ask me. Albania is a country that values and preserves its old traditions, so some of the customs you’ll read about in this article are centuries-old and performed with little change in the 21st century.
Week of celebrating before the “I do”
Albanian wedding celebration begins a whole week before the actual wedding day when the bride and groom sign the legal papers and exchange vows. During this week, the two families feast and have fun separately and together, ask each other over, exchange gifts, entertain their wedding guests, and so on. Before the actual wedding ceremony, two separate celebrations take place – the bride’s wedding party on Wednesday or Saturday, the groom’s wedding party on Thursday or Sunday. The church wedding ceremony or any other official wedding is held after these two receptions.
The bride and groom both have to send presents to their future partner’s family. The bride prepares various handcrafted items – pillows, blankets, embroidered clothing, carpets, household items, etc. The groom sends money, sweets, and some costly gifts for his future wife (jewelry, clothes, accessories, etc).
Flowers from a boy
The youngest boy in the groom’s family brings a bouquet of flowers to the bride. And this small wedding ritual looks adorable.
Bride’s wedding procession
On the official wedding day, the bride receives a blessing from her parents. And several of the groom’s relatives come to her home to take her to the wedding venue. The best man brings the bride’s wedding shoes and sweets for her. The small procession escorts her to the venue, while the groom’s female relatives (called “krushqit” or “groom’s maids”) perform traditional singing and dancing. There are usually 10 or more groom’s maids in the procession. They come to the bride’s house by beautifully decorated cars. The main car is for the couple, all the other – for the bridal party. And one of the cars always holds the Albanian national flag.
Bride leaves with tears, arrives with gunfire
When the bride leaves her parents’ house, she cries together with her family. They say their farewells because she will live in another house from now on.
When she comes to the groom’s home, she is greeted with gunfire by the groom’s male relatives. They express their joy of getting a new member in the family. In the past, it was considered a victory because a new person meant more working hands and a new woman meant procreation for the family. Even today, some families still do the gunfire.
Also, at the door of the groom’s house, his mother awaits her new daughter-in-law holding bread and honey. She feeds the bride with a little bread and honey to wish the couple wealthy and sweet life together.
Money in shoes
Remember the little boy who gave flowers to the bride? That’s not the only wedding ritual with a boy in Albania. When the bride comes to the groom’s home, she takes off her shoes, which are taken by a small boy (this ritual has a deep meaning connected with superstitions about the bridal shoes – no one is supposed to touch them except for small kids). Albanian brides hide some money in their wedding shoes, so the boy is sort of paid for his assistance. Later, during the wedding reception, the same boy sits on the bride’s lap to bring her good luck and sons in the future.
In Albania, the money dance is performed at weddings, like at many different weddings around the world. The couple dances, and their family members and wedding guests dance around them and with them, attaching banknotes to the couple’s clothing or giving them to the bride and groom. After this dance, the couple becomes a lot wealthier than before it)).