On December 26, 2008 the main hall of the National History Museum in Tirana was crowded with hundreds of people who came together in an atmosphere of joyful wishes for a new creative year.
The singing, dancing, and the recitations created an exciting and colourful spirit of celebration.
As the children held lighted candles and walking silently on to the stage, the youth started the event by announcing the coming of our Saviour into the world. Amidst the applause, the speakers started to convey the first messages, ‘We are all excited today – for this is not a false light, like those we see all around us these days.
The True light has come, a light which everyone can discern within themselves. It is Christ, the little baby who was born in a cave in Bethlehem and came to our city to find shelter within our hearts.’ An over-head projector displayed the message of Archbishop Anastasios which was broadcasted by the media on Christmas Eve. The youth groups and pupils of the schools of our church then entered to sing Christian and folk songs, to perform traditional dances, make recitations, and to present a drama.Their smiling faces were full of light. Among the guests were His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios, the supporter of this event, together with the Metropolitan of Berati, His Grace Ignatios, the Bishop of Apolloni, His Grace Nikolla, the Bishop of Kruja, His Grace Anthony and other clerics and faithful.
This joyful feeling of cooperation and brotherhood lasted for about three hours and was in fact a mixture of Christian and traditional values.hanks and gratitude to all the participants were expressed, especially to those who contributed to the organization and success of this festive event. Fifteen youth groups (which were selected at the local festivals organized in their own dioceses during the month of December) brought the characteristic charm of their regions. Besides the competitors, other groups of children and orthodox youth came to sing and dance as guests.
A play entitled ‘The Word, the Final Shape of Love’ was performed by the youth of Tirana. Mr. Gabriel and Maria Prifti sang “Love of God” and “The bells are Ringing Again” added to the festive atmosphere.
At the end of the competition, the jury withdrew to make their decision. Meanwhile Archbishop Anastasios gave his congratulations regarding the organization of the festival. He emphasized, “If we want to be part of the big European family, we must progress spiritually. Albania needs all of you.
Honest working people who are interested in the progress of the Country; with a spirit of decisiveness and sacrifice. Each individual’s progress is related to the progress of the Country itself. I do not worry about the future because it is in the hands of Christ. The more we relate to Christ the more hope we have for the future. We must follow the example of enlightened men and not of those who think only of themselves. Let us celebrate the coming of our Saviour with spiritual warmth. Merry Christmas to all!”
At the end of the program, the jury declared the winners. The group from Këlcyra won the prize of encouragement. Third prize went to the groups from Berati and Korça. Second prize was awarded to the group from Kavaja. First prize went to the group from Tirana whose performance was excellent.Apparently at Christmas, the youth of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, have found the best way to express their love and joy for the coming of the Saviour of the world.
Translated by Juliana Kodheli