Albanian Customs and Etiquette, and Values for Kids

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Verbal or nonverbal communication

Some nonverbal communications in Albanian culture show drastic differences comparing to some other peoples’ culture around the world. It is very common for Albanians to greet each other with a kiss or a hug, even between the same genders.  Albanians consider two men or two women walking hand-in-hand to standard behavior while in the United States, two men or women holding hands would indicate a romantic relationship. While Americans smile freely at strangers, in Albanian regions this is considered a little strange and sometimes impolite. Albanians tend to use more eye contact when they are speaking, but less when they are listening. It is believed that avoiding eye contact is the way to show respect. Physical distance is another major difference in the nonverbal communication between Albanians and other cultures. Acceptable distance for Albanians is much shorter than what most Americans feel comfortable with. When Albanians place the hand on the chest is to say, “thank you”, when they stroke the shoulder lightly means “good luck”.

There are some differences in Verbal Communications, as well. Albanians may frequently talk loudly to each-other but it is not because they are angry. They raise their voices even in normal conversations. Albanian women tend to speak more than listening and when in groups you would be listening to two or more women speaking at the same time. It is not unusual when Albanian parents would tell to their kids “I will kill you”. This usually happens when kids do something wrong or don’t obey their parents and it is a routine expression. However, parents never mean to do so and they never do so, and nobody takes it seriously. It is only an attempt to discipline their children.

Values

Albanian people, in general, are very hospitable. It is not unusual for an Albanian family to spend a month’s salary to feed a visitor. A person invited to dinner will be given enough to “feed an army,” even though the host may go hungry the next day. By tradition, women are expected to stay at home and to obey their husbands. They usually take care of the house and their children. However, recently, women are being emancipated. For Albanians the family is considered to be the most stable institution, therefore, they prefer to live altogether; husband, wife, children, father, mother, brothers, and sisters.

Albanians are hard workers and especially women. Besides working at home, Albanian women living in rural areas are frequently compelled to do agriculture work. They also take care of cattle.

There are three religions practiced in Albania; Catholic, 30%, orthodox, 10 % and Islam, 60 %. There is an extraordinary religious tolerance among Albanians and religious divisions are not significant at all. Members of the same family sometimes belong to different religions.

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