Did you know that only Albanians celebrate the 14th of March or the so called Summer Day?
This is a pagan celebration that is still celebrated throughout Albania. It has its roots in the Snake and Sun Cults of the Illyrians. Albanian writers such as Naim Frashëri and Faik Konica have both written stories of its origin.
On Summer Day our ancestors -the Illyrians- would celebrate together with Romans and ancient Greeks the resurrection and the revival of the vegetation and nature. Nowadays on Summer Day Albanians share with each other ‘verore’, a bracelet made out of two or more colorful threads twisted together, and ‘ballokume’, a Summer Day’s special cookie made out of corn flower.
The Summer Day or "Dita e Verës" according to Julian calendar, a calendar used throughout Europe in the far past, marked the 1st of March, the first month of the year. That’s why for those who know Albanian it is more clear now why the names of the months are as they are, i.e. September or Shtatori is ‘the seventh’ starting from the first that is the month March. Here you can understand what an ancient language is the Albanian.
Later on the Gregorian calendar started to be used due to specific religions and their influences. The 1st of March which signified the beginning of the year now became the 14th of March that we know nowadays but Albanians didn’t forget about their tradition.
According to the nowadays fragments of history found here and there Arbëreshët (Albanians which migrated early in Italy) were the ones who kept this tradition alive, since Albania was under the Ottoman Empire for almost 5 centuries, and then the tradition of celebrating this day was specially inherited by the nowadays city of Elbasan where the celebration hits its peak.
On this day Albanians congratulate each other on living long and happy lives. The day before the 14th of March people take a small clump of grass with roots and soil to keep at home on the morning of the Summer Day. This ancient custom is preserved and celebrated nowadays only in some cities of middle Albania.