A pagan holiday, much earlier than Christianity is the celebration of Summer Day, in the whole area of Elbasan, but also other cities of Albania.
But on this marked day, Elbasan returns to the center of celebrations with a variety of activities, from outdoor excursions, to the prosperous family lunch, where there is no lack of ballocum.
The origin of “Summer Day” has in the shrine Zana of Çermenika, built on the outskirts of the city of Elbasan, which was the goddess of hunting, forests and all nature.
According to the narrator, this fairy came out of her shrine on March 14th. Inherited from generation to generation, this popular holiday is a day that today identifies the city of Elbasan itself. Anyone who will spend these days near Elbasan will feel the evocative aroma of blockades.
Ballokums are the traditional cakes of this holiday. In Elbasan they cook only on this day. This makes them even more special. They are sweets that are cooked with well-sifted corn flour, butter and fine sugar.
Also a detail of this holiday is the placement in the hand of “summer”, a bracelet of white and red threads that is tied to the wrist and untied when the first swallow is seen. In some regions, summers depend on the branches of trees, mainly laurels, for swallows to pick and bring prosperity.
– Slope on Summer Day-
In the traditional mountainous area of Shpati, about 22 kilometers away from Elbasan, the party started with an excursion to the slopes of Bokanik, where young people the day before prepared shilars and squares for various toys, where not only young people participated with pleasure, but also older men and women.
This day of March 14, otherwise known as flower day, was always accompanied by green tree trunks or early flowers. The lavish lunch with game meat was served collectively, after which, it was left to the children to close the party by knocking on the door of the village, where they were treated to eggs, figs, fruits preserved for this day. The years passed and this holiday little by little lost some of its peculiarities. Finally it has remained as a children’s holiday, but that still fanatically preserves the abundant lunch and flowers.
-In Shënavlash, it is celebrated with nature nearby-
In the village of Shënavlash even today the holiday has not lost anything of tradition. Here the preparations for this holiday start two days in advance by the children.
Summer Day morning finds all the children of the village in groups with nettles in their hands, knocking on doors. No one returns empty-handed. The part is also saved for any missing children. And when the children’s rite is over, the young and the old leave the houses and wish each other: “Happy Summer Day! Have a good summer! ”
Women on this day neither sew nor knit handicrafts because, it is believed, they are protected from snakes. And 12 days after the flower festival, the village celebrates Baba Nevruz day, when no kind of wood is cut, because it is believed that on that day the whole forest is prayed.