The term Nevruz has a Persian origin. It is made up of the words “nev,” which means “new” and “ruz,” which means “day.” According to the Persian calendar used in the past, it is the first day of the year and the beginning of spring in Albania. It also signifies when the sun moves into the house of Aries.
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Until March 21st, the sun provides more heat and light to the southern hemisphere. After that date, the heat and light move to the northern hemisphere. That is why March 21st is considered a day of celebration for those living in the northern hemisphere. It is a symbol of creation and awakening.
History of Nevruz in Albania
According to stories in Albanian mythology, God created the world, the sun, and man on this day. The legendary Albanian ruler, Kiyumers, announced the day as a festival when he ascended the throne. A symbol of magnificence in Albania, Jemshid, also ascended to the throne this day. Also, Jem, Prophet Adam’s seventh grandson, arrived in Azerbaijan on the date of March 21st, declaring it a day of celebration.
The day is celebrated differently in different parts of the country. For example, in areas where people mainly work in agriculture, it is a ceremony to celebrate abundance. However, it also has faith-related significance for some people in the country. For example, in the Alawite-Bektashi communities, the date that Nevruz falls on also marks the birth of Ali, as well as the day when Fatma and Ali married. It is the day when Prophet Mohammad also designated Ali as the caliph after returning from the Farewell Hadj.
In the morning on Nevruz, people typically drink milk after the guide reads the prayers. They also read poems that are called Mevlit, which is a religious prayer or poem chanted in honour of the memory of a deceased individual or to mark the religious occasion; nefes, which is a poem that is read by dervishes; and Nevruziye. They also often visit the graves of deceased loved ones with pastries that they prepared earlier and eat them while there.
While Nevruz Day has quite a bit of significance for the Albanian people, so does Nevruz Night. This night was particularly important to those who live in Eastern Anatolia. Here, the people hold the belief that all things and creatures prostrate before God on this specific night. During the day, each person’s future and fortune for the next year are determined. As a result, people prepare for the New Year by wearing beautiful, new clothing and cooking large meals at home.
If you have plans to visit Albania during the Nervuz celebrations, it is a good idea to have everything you need. Nervuz Day and Night are country-wide celebrations, and most people remain off work and out of school during this time. While all government offices remain closed, the majority of privately owned businesses remain closed, as well. However, many feasts and community meals go on so you are likely going to find traditional fare around the country to enjoy.