Albania Independence Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Albania Independence Day is annually celebrated on 28th November. This day commemorates the Declaration of Independence of Albania from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. 

This day is also known as the Flag Day as it commemorates the rise of the Albanian flag in Vlora, coinciding with the day on which Skanderbeg raised the same flag in Krujë, on November 28, 1443. 

It is a public holiday in the country. It is the first day of a two-day holiday period as Albania Independence Day is always followed by Liberation Day on November 29, the next day.  

Event Albania Independence Day
Date November 28, 2022
Day Monday
Significance The day commemorates the Declaration of Independence of Albania from the Ottoman Empire in 1912.
Observed by Albania

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Albania Independence Day History: 

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 Skandberg’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. Until September 1912, the Ottoman government intentionally kept Albanians divided within four ethnically heterogeneous vilayets to prevent Albanian national unification. The reforms introduced by the Young Turks provoked the Albanian Revolt of 1912 which lasted from January to August 1912. The Albanian revolt was successful and until August 1912 rebels managed to gain control over large area with ethnic Albanians in majority. 

The success of the Albanian revolt sent a strong signal to the neighbouring countries that the Ottoman Empire was weak. Besides, the Kingdom of Serbia opposed the plan for an Albanian vilayet, preferring a partition of the European territory of the Ottoman Empire among the four Balkan allies. During the First Balkan War the combined armies of the Balkan allies overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success. They occupied almost all the remaining European territories of the Ottoman Empire including the territory of the Albanian Vilayet. 

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As the Ottomans were weakened by their defeat in the Balkan Wars, an uprising in 1912 led to the proclamation of independence by Ismail Qemali, the leader of the Albanian national movement on November 28, 1912. In December 1912, a delegation of Albania submitted a memorandum to the London Conference of 1913 insisting on the ethnic rights of Albanians and requested an international recognition of independent Albania. Then great powers met on July 29, 1913, and decided to constitute a new state as a constitutional monarchy, the Principality of Albania. Albania was established with the Treaty of Bucharest signed in August 1913. 

Albania Independence Day Significance: 

The term Albania is the medieval Latin name of the country. It may be derived from the Illyrian tribe of Albani (Albanian: Albanët) recorded by Ptolemy, the geographer and astronomer from Alexandria, who drafted a map in 150 AD which shows the city of Albanopolis located northeast of Durrës. Nowadays, Albanians call their country Shqipëri or Shqipëria. The two terms are popularly interpreted as “Land of the Eagles” and “Children of the Eagles”. Albania is a small country but this place holds a lot of significance in world’s history and culture. 

The day on which Albania becomes independent is probably the single most historically important day for the country. We must remember how much the people in the past have fought for Albanians to be free today. That’s why this day is served as a way to offer tribute and remember the sacrifice of the heroes and people of the nation for the independence of their country. Hence it is a very proud moment for Albanians to look back at their history and understand the struggles which their ancestors had to face just to live free. 

This day also gives an opportunity to every Albanian to proudly celebrate and display their culture and heritage. It is a moment when Albanians get a chance to celebrate their identity with full joy and enthusiasm. This day inspires them to get involve with activities celebrating the rich culture and history of the nation. This is a day for Albanians to express their love for the country while also remembering the sacrifice made by their ancestors. 

Albania shares many symbols associated with its history, culture and belief. The flag of Albania is a red flag with a black double-headed eagle positioned in the centre. The red colour used in the flag symbolises the bravery, strength and valour of the Albanian people, while the black colour appears as a symbol of freedom and heroism. The eagle has been used by Albanians since the Middle Ages including the establishment of the Principality of Arbër and by numerous noble ruling families such as the Kastrioti, Muzaka, Thopia and Dukagjini.  

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Albania Independence Day Celebrations: 

Every year, Albanians, in Albania and abroad, celebrate this day in myriad ways with all Albanian cities light up in red and black and enjoy the festivities. Flag raising has also become a main tradition of the day and that’s why you will observe Albanian flag on every balcony across the country for the day. 

As the place that saw the entire National Independence movement take place, Flag Square in Vlora is number one on the list for celebrations on the day. The city’s atmosphere is so contagious during this particular day that you cannot help but join in the celebrations, whether you are Albanian or not! The coastal city offers great food and wonderful views of the Ionian, as well. 

Skanderbeg Square in the capital city of Tirana is another place to visit for the day. This square is the next most popular choice for Independence Day celebrations. The latter have started even earlier this year, with the organization of the “Village of Celebrations” which includes countless activities for Christmas, New Year’s and Independence Day fun. Don’t miss the fireworks show in the evening!  

The National Historical Museum may be a nice option for celebrations this year. The largest in the country, this museum reveals the country’s history through its most significant periods, including the National Renaissance and Independence Movements. Entrance is free of charge on this day, so be sure to take this opportunity to celebrate while learning more about Albania.  

Most Searched FAQs on Albania Independence Day: 

1. When is Albania Independence Day celebrated? 

Albania Independence Day is annually celebrated on 28th November. 

2. What does Albania Independence Day commemorates? 

Albania Independence Day commemorates the Albanian Declaration of Independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. 

3. Was Albania part of the U.S.S.R? 

No, Albania was never part of the U.S.S.R. nor one of its satellite states. 

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