Wednesday, May 23, 2007
ALBANIAN NEW BRIDE CELEBRATION
Part of our orientation to the Albanian culture is learning all of the customs and traditions of family life. One of these important celebrations, after the marriage itself, is the first visit by the nusja (bride) to the homes of other immediate family members. Agim's brother was married this month to a lovely, young woman named (Linda). So last Thursday evening, Kathy Smith and I were invited to this very special celebration when Lindita came to Agim & Habibe's home for the first time.
Custom says that Lindita had to serve (in proper Albanian fashion) all of the guests. Between each course, she would change her dress. This is the reason that you see her in several different costumes throughout the evening. All of the women in the family (which included Kathy and I) were to determine if she was serving correctly and to help her be confident in the fact that she knew what she was doing. Kathy and I learned as much, if not more, than Lindita did about the "correct way to serve."
Habibe prepared all of the food that was served that evening; all Lindita had to do was properly serve it. We had a welcome candy and a drink (our choice was CocaCola Light, by the way) to begin the festivities. We made mention of the fact that we found it very amusing that we were drinking CocaCola Light and then eating all of this rich food. All the ladies said, "Oh yes, we understand. You save the calories where you can so that you can eat like this at special occasions. Women are alike all over the world!
We ate appetizers, followed by a beautifully arranged plate of byrek, Albanian pancakes, salads and other vegetables. We then had a delicious torte, hot caj (tea) served in traditional Albanian tea glasses, and strawberries (which are in season in Macedonia now) and bananas. What a meal!! Then there was the traditional Albanian dancing to complete a spectaular evening. This is a dance where everyone forms a circle and does the same dance step (oh well, Kathy & I tried to do the same step, anyway!). It is a family event and SOOO much fun.
As we were leaving that evening, Habibe said to Kathy and I that her home would be the highlight of all of Lindita's servings. Nobody could top having 2 American women as part of their family! How very privileged Kathy & I feel that we are part of the Iseni family.