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Albania Customs & Etiquettes

Albania is an incredibly hospitable culture and has its own particular traditions of courtesy. Even more so than the rest of the Balkans, elder males expect to be shown due respect on account of their age. Men of the family have to be respected in particular.

Albanians are very closely related to the notion of hospitality, a notion similar to that of the sacred guest from Homer and classical literature. Many Albanian traditions of hospitality come from The Kanun, or "The Code", a 15th-century text written by the powerful Dukagjin clan, although many of the laws written in the code date from earlier times.

It is an Albanian tradition to shake hands when meeting one another, and in many cases, they kiss each other on the cheeks, generally four times. One of the most common gesticulation confusions arises from the fact that Albanians nod their heads up and down to mean "no", and shake their heads left to right to indicate "yes". Another specific Albanian gesture that may be confusing to foreigners is when the palm is placed in the chest, it expresses thanks.

Also, do note that it is unacceptable to exhibit yourself topless in the seaside, or worse, naked; of course, there are many isolated places where you can do this in private.

Albanians are friendly and very open towards foreigners that visit their country. If you are lucky enough to be invited to visit an Albanian's home, you will be treated as royalty. As written in The Kanun, the guest will be shown the highest respect by being offered a seat at the head of the table. The guest is then treated with the best the family has to offer, usually taking the form of homemade raki, a traditional liquor.





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