Bearing in mind that the history of religious belief in Albania has had a tortuous path in the years of the dictatorship established since the 1944 with the rise of communism under the leadership of the dictator Enver Hoxha, it is necessary to dwell on the unfortunate 1967 year, the year in which, the Communist regime proclaimed Albania de facto "atheist state", prohibiting all religious beliefs, considering this as "dangerous foreign imports or influences", proclaiming Albania as "the first atheist state in the world".
To arrive years later, in 1976, the year in which state atheism was also inscribed in the Constitution.
The 37 article quoted:
"The State does not recognize any religion and supports atheist propaganda to instill in people the scientific-materialistic vision of the world"
In this period, instead of the Bible and the Koran - since there were mainly three religions in Albania: Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox - printing and dissemination of the works written by the dictator and his bibliography praising the communist doctrine began. And in the 1977, the 55 article of the penal code established imprisonment for three to ten years for religious propaganda, distribution or possession of religious texts.
Following direct ordinances by Enver Hoxha, the prohibition of religious celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, for Christians and Bajrams, Ramadan and all the respective holidays for Muslims began in Albania in 1967.
Celebrate Easter secretly under dictatorship ...
When Easter knocked at the door, for anyone in the respective branch of the Christian religion, that is, both Catholic and Orthodox, whatever their specific beliefs, our grandparents or parents kept it within themselves, without expressing it, much less flaunting it as such, but they celebrated this anniversary in hiding in the family, with relatives or with the most trusted friends ...
We could confidently affirm another truth:
Ours, has always been a country that coexisted mainly with three religions: with a Muslim majority, with Orthodox and Catholics. Of our own families and our kinship, they took part in the uncles and aunts who had married people of faith different from their own, without prejudice. Or rather, some prejudices on the part of the most remote and conservative generations with regard to these unions existed, but on the part of the young people this happened a little less.
Consequently, with this fusion we have been able to live together in peace, respecting the traditions and customs of each one. We should also say that the degree of intensity of belief in faith was higher in the elderly, in those who had once been able to attend religious institutions, practice places of worship and prayers, but to our generation, the younger and more recent - that of the years '70,' 80 - which had never had the chance to know a church or a mosque, the discourse of belief was a bit difficult and abstract. All this, for the reasons mentioned above and which we all know very well: for the times we ran, for the regime under which we lived and its ideological line, factors that prevented the very possibility of knowledge and even less of the practice of religion.
That said, just to remember the occurrence of Easter, each, in addition to the relative factor that linked him to prayer, also tried to celebrate at the table, with typical dishes according to tradition and, the most problematic thing, according to the economic possibilities.
But, the funniest and most particular aspect for me, then a child, was the moment of coloring the hard-boiled eggs in the house!
With how much joy I helped my grandmother in the kitchen and got my hands dirty with colors!
But beware: we could never define them industrial food colors? In reality, we did not have the comforts, elements and preparations ready or the accessories of today in this discipline, but we relied on vegetable colors.
Excluding on the other hand, chocolate eggs. Those constituted another lack apart ...
Therefore, the coloring of the eggs was not at all easy and became a real undertaking!
A company for another reason, even more important: for the fact that before starting the "process" of coloring, we had to get the raw material, that is the eggs themselves!
They were "ladies eggs", so sought after and limited in the market that, for the success of the celebration on this anniversary, with regard to the eggs in the first place, we had to organize ourselves in time.
Once the eggs were procured, for the coloring substances you could not go to the grocery store near home, much less to the supermarket (the latter didn't even exist), not even to the pastry shop. It was necessary to implement one's own imagination and creative genius!
Then, the grandmother went to work.
To color the green colored eggs, he had me gather nettles in a field next to my house, which would have burned my hands and filled with bubbles before they came home, which caused an annoying itch. He put them to boil and they gave off a green liquid of a strong and bright color. That way for green colored eggs, we could have done it!
For the red eggs, he put the beetroot to boil, which made a dark red liquid come out, near the burgundy, and this version was also fantastic!
To get the yellow color was a little more complicated as she tried to get it from the field mushrooms. But the mushrooms were not easy to find, and then you had to be able to recognize them. He then asked for the help of a dear family friend of ours, an elderly gentleman who had the passion to explore nature and its flora, who roamed the fields and hills around the city, to obtain medicinal herbs, which he used. for traditional and popular treatments and medicines. And here, once you get the field mushrooms, put them to boil and get the yellow color for the eggs!
Practically these preparations acquired a particular form of fascination, not only because there was difficulty in procuring everything needed for this so-called "mission", but also because everything took place in secret, relying only on the people who enjoyed their well-deserved trust , only in those people who knew that they would not have betrayed you and would not have made you pay serious consequences for you and your family, aware of the transgression in act of the dictatorial strict rules that categorically forbade and pursued by law the religious belief any manifestation of celebration against it.
Ah, another detail!
To me, the eggs liked not only colorful, but also decorated with some little drawings on them! At that time, pastel or other colors could not help, because in the end, we had yes and no, colored pencils for school ... Of course, even the stickers for this type of decoration didn't even exist.
Then, the grandmother's imagination expanded in the drawings: she took parsley leaves, attached them to the eggs, before coloring them, tied them with a cut from stockings or tights of filanca and, after boiling in colored water, the place covered from the parsley leaf, it remained white and so was the drawing!
Wishing everyone a Happy Easter, I send a wish and a thought to our grandparents and all our loved ones, who are no longer close to us physically, but who have been protagonists of unforgettable moments of our childhood, having thus, made to remain forever in our hearts.
This post was originally published on 29 in March 2013.
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