How to do an Albanian wedding: the krushqit

I’ve written before about how in Albanian culture, in marrying, a woman leaves her family and joins her husband’s family. The ceremony around this is called the krushqit.

This involves the groom selecting a group of family members – from both his father’s and mother’s side of the family – to accompany him to the bride’s family home to collect her. There are some particular rules around participation in the krushqit… included should be the youngest niece and oldest nephew, a sister-in-law of the groom (whose job it is to look after the bride on her journey to the wedding party), an uncle from both sides of the family etc. One person, usually senior and well-respected, is appointed the head of the krushqit and will lead the group into the bride’s home. There are always an even number of participants – including the groom. In my hubby’s krushqit there were nine members, plus him, made a nice even ten!

The krushqit travel to the bride’s house in convoy. The cars are usually decorated and there is usually music, merriment and honking horns to accompany them.

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They are welcomed into the bride’s home by the bride’s father and enjoy some hospitality (namely, raki) before the bride is given flowers by the youngest niece and accompanied out of her room by the niece and nephew and presented to the krushqit.

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Then, after a short time, the two families leave the house. The groom’s family leave first and gather outside. The bride’s family follow – led by the father of the bride and a sister of the bride (in my case, my lovely friend filled those shoes!) arm-in-arm with now sobbing bride. It’s a solemn occasion. The bride is leaving her family. There is much wailing. (I completely failed this!).

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Outside the house the bride is handed over to the groom and a senior member of krushqit and led away to the wedding car.

It was a very unique experience and I was well-supported by a bunch of fabulous friends and family who had travelled over for the wedding. They ably played the role of my family and I don’t think we did too bad a job of pulling off a proper handover of the bride!

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