🇦🇱 A spontanous Invitation to an Albanian wedding

Diary Entry

We continue strolling through Tepelenë in the sweltering heat, as we hear traditional music. Rovena is immediately enthusiastic and says that there will be dancing and that we could certainly get the opportunity to dance. We politely point out that it’s 1pm and 40 degrees, so we definitely wouldn’t be dancing anything. “Just watch 2 minutes” – “Okay”

It turned out to be a wedding celebration with a woman dressed unmistakably as a bride and a whole group of young women danced around the dancing couple while men and women stood around and clapped. The whole neighborhood stares at the hustle and bustle from the street or from the windows of the houses. When the dancers see us standing on the street and also watching the hustle and bustle, all of them waved at us and begged us to come and then – to dance.

In no time we are in the circle around the bride between the young women and can no longer defend ourselves. A group of men provide music with an accordion, clarinet and other instruments. Rovena happily tries to explain the steps to us, which fails quite a bit for me. We see the bride waving a white cloth in the air as she dances. Another red cloth is passed around and whoever receives this cloth takes turns dancing or leading a polonaise around the bride. While participating in the dance, we are presented with all kinds of wrapped sweets, beer and raki.

When the hustle and bustle comes to an end two hours later, the father, uncle and sister of the bride are standing in front of us. The sister translates to us in English that the family would like to cordially invite us to come to the big party that evening, eat, drink and dance all for free and we would do you a tremendous honor.

We are actually considering whether to accept the invitation. The day is still young, Tepelenë is not exactly pretty and we wanted to see the fantastic city of Gjirokaster. But a wedding invitation is of course something special and each sight can also be visited at another time.

At least we would like to visit the famous Gjirokaster after we looked for accommodation in Tepelenë as a precaution. The hospitality goes so far that a cousin invites us to stay with him. But we would rather stay independent and find a hotel on the outskirts of town.

We dress in the most elegant of our outdoor gear. Unfortunately, Chris decides to stay at the hotel.

We find the celebration at the same place as at noon and everyone is happy to see us again.

Many young girls speak to us in the very best English. We are amazed at how well they speak the language. The girls tell us that although they learn English at school, the teachers are bad. But they watch a lot of television in English, a lot of films and series. Sometimes she sees three films a day, says one girl.

A young man named Gent enthuses us about German cars, above all, of course, the Mercedes: “the king of cars”. He recently bought a brand new Mercedes in Dortmund, AMG tuned of course, and brought it to Albania. He doesn’t exactly look like a fruit seller, more like someone solving problems with concrete on his feet in a lake, so we don’t ask him where he gets the money for a luxury car in one of Europe’s poorest countries.

The celebration shifts and we follow the others to a restaurant outside of town and follow our new friends onto the rooftop terrace. Long tables are prepared there. There is plenty to eat, the obligatory salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, along with cheese and boiled meat. And, of course, unbelievably delicious wine from the area is served with it. The father of the bride greets us warmly and lets us know that the wine is from his estate and that he will ensure that we will always have more.

Of course there was constant dancing. The poor bride seems to be starving because she has to dance at all times in the center of the party for everyone to see. I admire her condition. The music pauses only a few times and only every now and then a dance starts, in which only old or young women participate.

Rovena explains to me that it is polite to dance with the bride and put her money, at least 500 lek, in her necklace.

No sooner said than done, at an appropriate moment I dance out of the circle to the bride (which means I try to somehow move in time with her), move around the bride for a few minutes and slip her the money as recommended .

The children in particular find us extremely exciting and ask us questions. A boy keeps running to his mother and comes back with an English sentence. He then rushes back to his mother with my English answer.

A girl named Lea tells me: “I like you because you are so beautiful because you are so tall”.

A girl named Lea tells me: “I like you because you are so beautiful because you are so tall”.



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