Thousands of citizens from all over the world took part today in the pilgrimage on the sacred mountain Tomorr in Berat.
The holy feast of the Bektashi began on Tuesday 20 and will continue until Sunday 25, with today's day representing the culminating moment of the pilgrimage. Bektashi believers and pilgrims travel to Mount Tomorr every August to commemorate Abaz Aliu, who died in the battle of Karbala in the seventh century on a pilgrimage that he believed to bring health and fortune.
Every year the "Tekke of Kulmak", which houses the tomb of the holy bektashi Abaz Aliu, hosts about 300-400.000 pilgrims from all over Albania, the diaspora and beyond.
For this reason, since the 20 in August, the "Tekke of Kulmak" has been prepared and has opened the doors to host the first pilgrims who will participate in the holy feast, while all the necessary measures have been taken on Mount Tomorr to avoid tents, baths, lighting and drinking water for pilgrims.
The history of Bektashism in Albania
Bektashi leaders were expelled from Turkey in the 1800 and at the beginning of the 1900, as heretics, they found refuge in Albania where there was already a strong Bektashi community and a great religious tolerance. Some of the main Albanian figures that led to the country's independence, such as the Frasheri brothers, were Bektashi.
However, during the communist regime, in the same way as the other communities, the Bektashi religion was persecuted until it dissolved in the 1967 when Albania became the first officially atheist country in the world. During this period the Albanian tradition of the Bektashi was kept alive in two Khanqas (a place of vocation for Muslims), one in Gjakova in Kosovo and the other in Detroit in the USA. The Khanqa of Tirana was later reopened in the 1991, with the collapse of the communist dictatorship.
The polls show that the Albanian people are among the least religious in Europe in terms of the practice of the four main doctrines of the country, which are divided in this way according to the last census: Sunni Muslims 57% of the population, Catholic Christians 10 %, Orthodox Christians 7% and Bektashi 2%.