Flag and Independence Day in Albania is celebrated on November 28 each year.
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It is a public holiday with offices, schools and businesses closed. The holiday is in celebration of the Albanian Declaration of Independence, which was signed in November, 1912, as well as the raising of the Albanian flag in Viora and Kruje on November 28, 1443.
History of the Holiday
The revolt against the Ottoman Empire began in Albania in January 1912. Albania was successful in August of that year, sending a message to other countries that the Ottoman Empire was weak. Ismail Qemali, leader of the movement for a free Albania quickly organised a Congress in Viora to protect the country from invasion by Greece Bulgaria, Montenegro and Spain.
The Declaration for Independence was approved by 83 delegates from around the country and signed on November 28, 1912. The document was then read to the public from an Assembly of Viora balcony. The Albanian flag, which had flown over the city more than 400 years earlier, was waved from the balcony by Qemali.
Traditions and Celebrations
On Flag and Independence Day in Albania, concerts and ceremonies are organised in an effort to celebrate the independence of the country. In Tirana, the flag is raised in the presence of the Prime Minister and President as well as Tirana’s mayor and other government officials. The graves of those considered national martyrs are visited.
Celebrity singers and dancers perform throughout the country, often singing the Albanian national song. Those in attendance wave the flag in celebration of the country’s independence and the raising of the flag in 1912 after 400 years of suppression. In the streets, many people wrap themselves in the Albanian flag as a sign of national pride. Most of the concerts are free and the largest of them is held in the centre of Tirana.
In 2012, the government planned an extended celebration in honour of the 100th anniversary of Albania’s independence. The ceremony opened on January 17 with a solemn ceremony attended by dignitaries from Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Presevo and Bujanovac who were there to represent those who were present 100 years earlier during the signing.
The government brought back the remains of Zog of Albania on November 17, exhuming the body from a grave in France where he died. His remains were placed in Mausoleum of the Albanian Royal Family. Artwork from Agim Ramadani, a leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, was displayed.
On November 28, a parade, folk and popular music concerts were held. The ceremonial hoisting of the flag in Tirana and Vlore as well as laying wreaths on the grave of Ismail Qemali took place.