Summer Day: Where and How to Celebrate this Holiday - Into Albania

Summer Day: Where and How to Celebrate this Holiday

The March 14th celebration and national holiday, rooted in an ancient pagan feast, is one of the most celebrated days of the year in all major cities, especially Elbasan, the summer day capital of Albania.  

Why do we celebrate Summer Day?

This pagan celebration goes back thousands of years, to a time when people celebrated nature and, with the coming of the mild seasons, the earth’s revival. In antiquity, according to the Julian Calendar, March signaled the beginning of the new year. As such, festivities began at the start of the month and lingered for some time thereafter. Because this celebration coincides with the beginning of such a beautiful season, people have kept the tradition alive quite naturally throughout the centuries.   


Elbasan has been the epicenter of Summer Day celebrations for decades now. The town’s families populate the city’s streets and parks in what is the greatest celebration of the year. Great food, wine, and the famous ballokume (read about it below) are part of the appeal of celebrating the day in Elbasan. A variety of decorations and people donning summer day masks give the town a vibrant festive atmosphere. If you have never been to Elbasan and/or not celebrated this particular day in Elbasan, March 14th is the day to do it all!

Castle of Elbasan

Castle of Elbasan, photo by IntoAlbania.


Everyone in Albania knows that summer celebrations are inevitably linked to ballokume, the city’s traditional sun-shaped dessert which perfectly reflects this day’s celebrations. This delicious dessert is a large biscuit made from wheat or corn flour and a substantial amount of sugar. Indeed, its sweetness has become a symbol of the Summer Festival. The preparation of ballokume, however, is a real challenge as one has to adhere faithfully to the steps of the recipe and the careful addition of each ingredient. The latter have to be mixed with a wooden spoon in a copper bowl as tradition dictates.


Ballokume, the symbol of the Summer Festival in Elbasan, Source:

2019 Celebrations Postponed for Tirana and Përmet

Since March 14th became an official holiday in Albania, the celebrations have expanded to include all major cities of the country. However, due to bad climate predictions for the day of March 14th, the celebrations in Tirana and Përmet have been postponed to Sunday, March 17th, 2019.   


The capital’s main areas of events and activities this year are Skanderbeg Square, the city’s main boulevard, Rinia Park, and Blloku with more than 50 different activities taking place throughout the day. Tirana Street Party is one event not to miss out on! Starting at noon, Blloku’s streets will be filled to the brim with people dancing to the music of local and international DJs until the late hours of the night. 

Tirana Street Party. Photo by IntoAlbania.


Another city that has postponed celebrations to the 17th of March is Përmet. There will be plenty of activities here, as well, particularly focused on celebrating nature and the region’s delicious traditional cuisine. For more information, follow our events page here.

By: IntoAlbania

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