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Culture & Identity of Albania

Introduction

Albania is fairly rural as nearly half the people in the country live outside the cities. This is also noticeable in occupations as nearly half of Albania's population works in the agricultural industry to some extent. This reliance on the land means the people are focused on the lands and much of the daily way of life is dependent on the lands, the seasons, and the weather.

For the farmers of the country, life is reliant on nature as most days begin and end with the rising and setting of the sun. Weather and seasons also alter the daily routine. For these people, the way of life is constantly changing as they must remain flexible. Seasons also alter the lifestyle as the winters tend to mean less work on the farm and less production, but also more free time and a chance to get away.

Despite the heavy reliance on nature for the farmers, just over half the working population in Albania works in the industrial or services sectors. These jobs tend to have more standard work days as many of these people work from about 8:00 am, but lunch breaks and ending times vary. Some industries have long lunch breaks so close as late as 7:00 or 8:00 pm, while others have shorter lunches so close earlier. Schools tend to run from about 8:00 am to about 1:30 pm.

No matter the occupation, the Albanians tend to center their lives on family and most free time is spent with family, friends, and neighbors. Traveling is uncommon for the Albanians and few people make enough money to spend on unnecessary items. This also cuts back on the nightlife and arts in the country, although both exist and there are enough people in the country making enough money to guarantee these industries continue to grow.

Identity

The Albanians are an ancient people who have never had a strong central or governmental leadership so it makes sense that, even today, few people identify with their government. While many people do identify as being Albanian, which is generally ethnically and linguistic defined, nearly everyone also has a strong secondary identity. More common within Albania itself, is that the people identify by their language's dialect first. In this way, people tend to see themselves as either "Gheg" (northern Albanians) or "Tosk" (southern Albanians). Most Albanians abroad see themselves only as Albanian as most Albanians living in foreign countries aren't divided linguistically, but rather are fairly uniform (for example, nearly all Albanians in Kosovo are Ghegs so see themselves only as Albanians). Religion also has a minor role in defining what it means to be Albanian, but this aspect of the culture and identity is slowly falling in popularity.

This page was last updated: November, 2013