Albanians reviving the spirit of Ramadan

For the last quarter of a century, locals in Albania have worked hard to re-integrate with the world and revive traditional practices after decades of isolation.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Islam was banned in Albania, as well as other religions, while the country was in the communist bloc from 1946 to 1992.

Albania, a predominantly-Muslim country in eastern Europe, is seeing a revival of Ramadan traditions after nearly 50 years of life under communism.

Until the start of the 20th century, the nation was under Ottoman rule for 400 years, but from from 1946 to 1992 Albania was isolated from the world. Under the communist leadership of Enver Hoxha, organised religion was banned.

“I remember my mother and father fasting secretly. When they woke up for 'Sahurs', they had to keep the lights off so that nobody could see them,” Kujtim Dervishi, the principal at the Haxhi Sheh Shamia school, explains.

“They had to close all the curtains and light candles inside our house. There was so much pressure and it was forbidden. They would humiliate you in the middle of public squares if they found out you were fasting. When kids went to school, they were forced to drink water to break the fast. But since the fall of communism, many things changed.”

TRT World ’s Semra Hunter has more from Albania.