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 Nov 25 2022

Dita e Pavarësisë - Tavë Kosi from Albania

Albania Independence Day, also known as Flag Day, on 28 November commemorates Albania proclaiming its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912.

At the start of the fifteenth century, the Ottoman Empire was expanding into South-Eastern Europe, invading and controlling numerous lands ruled by local kingdoms. By 1431, the Ottomans ruled most of modern-day Albania.

In 1443, a local revolt was led by a deserter from the Ottomans called Skanderbeg. His heroic military campaigns to defend Albania against the might of the Ottoman Empire meant that he became a national hero to the Albanians. It is often said that Skanderbeg's stand against the Ottomans may have prevented further expansion by the empire into more western regions of Europe.

Following Skanderbeg's death, Albania fell back under Ottoman control in 1479 and it remained a part of the Ottoman Empire until just before the start of the first world war.

In the late nineteenth century, a wave of desire for nationhood had been sweeping across Eastern Europe and while Albania enjoyed a privileged position within the empire, it too was stirred into the various uprising against Ottoman rule.

With the Ottomans having been weakened by the defeat in the Balkan Wars, an Albanian uprising of 1912 led to the proclamation of independence by Ismail Qemali, the leader of the Albanian national movement, on 28 November 1912.

Albanian Independence Day is also celebrated by ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo and North Macedonia. Even as far as New York City, Americans of Albanian descent would typically have a parade, often with the flag bearing the Albanian double-headed eagle prominently displayed.

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To round up the festivities featuring fireworks, music, festivals, and cities donned in red and black, a traditional Albanian dish should not be missed. Tavë Kosi is usually made with lamb meat, rice, eggs and yoghurt. The ingredients, together with some herbs, get tossed together in a casserole before they get cooked in the oven. Sometimes the dish is made with chicken and known as Elbasan Tava, named after the Albanian city from where the dish originated.


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