Tirana, 28 November 2021 (TDI): Today marks the 109th Anniversary Of Albania’s Independence. Albanians observe Independence Day every November 28th.
This is the day when Albania declared independence from Ottoman Empire in 1912. They also call it the Dita e Flamurit or Festa e Flamurit, which is translated as Flag day. More than 4.5 million Albanians living in the Balkans and over 2.5 million Albanians living abroad celebrate it each year.
It has been a tradition for Albanians to raise the National Flag on their windows or balconies. Whereas, in 2018, the Mayor of Tirana, Mr. Veliaj, called to all the citizens of Tirana to hang the flag in each house, to show to the world that ‘we love our country and we are proud of that.’
In the first fifteenth century, the Ottoman Empire occupied South-Eastern Europe. Local kingdoms previously ruled many lands. In 1431, the Ottomans ruled most of modern-day Albania.
28th of November 1445 was the day when Skanderbeg raised the red and black flag with a two-headed eagle and appointed the lord of the independent principality of Castriota. He delivered the famous address to the crowd assembled at Kruja Castle with the words: “The freedom wasn’t brought by me, I found here among you, I didn’t give you weapons, I found you armed, you have the freedom everywhere, in the chest, in the face, in the sword and in the spears”.
It is often said that Skanderbeg’s stand against the Ottomans may have stopped further expansion by the empire into more western regions of Europe. After Skanderbeg’s death in 1479, Albania fell back under Ottoman rule. After that, with the Ottomans having been weakened by the defeat in the Balkan Wars, the noble Albanian man, Ismail Qemali, on the same date 28th November 1912, raised the same Albanian flag in Vlora to declare the independence of Albania.
This was the day that Albania got liberation from 500 years of Ottoman occupation. Moreover, they consider Ismail Qemali as the father of Modern Albanians and the author of the Declaration of Independence.
That’s why they consider 28 November the most important festive day in the calendar and Albanians from all over the world celebrate it.
Traditions and Celebrations
Albanians celebrate Independence Day with music and ceremonies. In Tirana, in the presence of the Prime Minister and President, as well as Tirana’s mayor and other government officials, they raise the flag. Moreover, people also visit the graves of national martyrs.
Albanian celebrities are often seen singing the Albanian national song. Those in attendance wave the flag in celebration of the country’s independence and the raising of the flag in 1912 after 400 years of suppression. People wear the Albanian flag in public as a mark of pride. Most of the concerts are free and mostly held in Tirana.
Foreign wishes to Albania on its Independence Day
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan via Twitter extended congratulations to Albania on its Independence Day.
Happy Independence Day, Albania! 🇦🇿🇦🇱 pic.twitter.com/TyqNBDB439
— MFA Azerbaijan 🇦🇿 (@AzerbaijanMFA) November 28, 2021
Moreover, the President of Lithuania, President Gitanas, extended congratulations to President Ilir Meta of Albania on Independence Day. He thanked the President of Albania for his country’s attention to the ongoing processes in Europe’s Eastern Neighborhood during Albania’s chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Likewise, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania congratulated Albania on its Independence Day, via Twitter.
Warmest congratulations on your Independence Day, #Albania 🇦🇱! Wishing you strength, security, peace and prosperity. Rest assured, #Lithuania’s 🇱🇹 strong support to Albania on its path towards the membership of the #EU 🇪🇺 will continue. @AlbanianDiplo pic.twitter.com/RVEYzfyP8x
— Lithuania MFA (@LithuaniaMFA) November 28, 2021
Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia also congratulated Albania via Twitter.
— MFA Slovenia (@MZZRS) November 28, 2021
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Romania via Twitter extended congratulations to Albania.
Happy Independence Day, #Albania! #Romania 🇷🇴 is committed to continue supporting Albania 🇦🇱 on its #European 🇪🇺 path, while firmly supporting & promoting cooperation within @NATO. @AlbanianDiplo pic.twitter.com/5M2LMBO2mm
— MFA Romania (@MAERomania) November 28, 2021
Antony J. Blinken, 71st U.S. Secretary of State, on behalf of the United States of America, also congratulated the people of Albania.
I congratulate the people of Albania as you celebrate your 109th Independence Day. Our deep and enduring friendship dates back more than a century to when President Woodrow Wilson emphatically defended Albania’s independence at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.
– Antony J. Blinken