Visiting in Albania
Visiting in Albania Reviews
Nov 07, 2007
Albania is the land of greetings and hospitality – I have found they have many, many ways and forms of greeting someone they come across in the street, during meals, when visiting and even buying things at the market. When you see someone you know the usual greeting is how is it going “si ia kalova”, “ç kemi” Or “Si Je” how are you. It is then good to reply with how you are feeling, asking them in return and maybe branching into typical daily conversation.
When visiting, you are normally greeted by all people in the room standing ready to receive their guest. They may say welcome “Mirë se vini” or “Mirë se keni ardher”, meaning it is great to have you come. The typical reply is good to find you well “Mirë se ju gjetëm” Then you must acknowledge all by shaking hands with everyone in the room maybe starting with the oldest person but not always. If you are a woman you also press your cheek to other women’s that are there with a kiss three times, this is sometimes done between men also. Then you may all sit and respect is usually given to the visitor as people give them their full attention. This is repeated if someone else enters the room, with all standing and greeting.
In the beginning they usually serve some kind of cool drink either juice or something equivalent. They will always offer a sweet of some sort also. For guests they usually serve them some sort of food whether it be a biscoti or two, or some kind of sweet dish or fruit. I must admit in my house it is more relaxed and often guests get a drink and maybe a sweet/ biscoti if they wish. Men may also be offered the local homemade alcoholic beverage, Raki. To finish the visit people always serve Turkish coffee. All of the serving and cleaning up is done by the women.
At meal times when you have visitors they always prepare a table with a large spread of different things. As a sign of respect some ‘important’ guests are given separate bowls for salad etc. It is not necessary to stay quiet during a meal and they are usually social times which entail much talking and ‘gezuar’ing. When eating the owner of the house will usually say “Ju bëftë mirë” – which means may it do you good. A response to this is “Për të mira” or “faleminderit” and if you want to compliment the chef then “Ju lumshin duart” is the one to say (bless your hands). It is best to leave something on your plate as they will keep asking you if you want more food if you don’t leave any behind. They will also repeat Ju bëftë mirë” when you take your plate away.
When the visit has come to a close you depart by saying farewell to all that are there, the same way as you greeted them but maybe saying “mirupafshim” or “natan në mirë” instead of si je. At the door your guest will say “Mirë ardhsh” which is come again and the guest should say “Mirë të gjetsha” which is I hope to find you well.
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