albanian dollia

‘Dollia’ and its meaning

What is Dollia, this old Albanian tradition?

Have your Albanian friends invited you to lunch or dinner? Then you are ready to learn what toast is.

Dollia is practically a toast-it is the knocking of glasses in honor of a family member or relative, wishing success, happiness and prosperity from all participants of the holiday. Surely, so far, no one is surprised. The special feature of the Albanian toast is that it is made several times or many times during a dinner, thus greeting people present, relatives who have immigrated somewhere, newborns, newly-weds, etc. And after each toast, everyone is “forced” to chug the glass.

Dollia in Albania is one of the early traditions with great cultural value. It follows a certain hierarchy: the “chairman” (dolli-bashi) and the “secretary” (pritësi). It is an early tradition, which is present on the family parties and in some cases even during family meals. Not only as a sign of respect and love for the newcomers (friends), but also at parties and wedding ceremonies.

The toast has been and is in the center of attention for the owner of the house. He plans the number of toasts and the people for whom the toast will be raised which starts from the middle of the conversation. The second most important guest raises his toasts, and then the present guests continue in order of importance. When there is an event organizer, he is the one who makes the plan, who will raise the toast and how many glasses of raki will be raised.

PRO TIP: We suggest you not drink it all if you are toasting with raki, if you want to resist until the end of the party, otherwise you’ll be considered ‘weak’ if you can’t handle the raki.

Usually the toast is raised for newcomers. So the moment of toasting in a ceremony, is a moment of joy and pleasure and not only. In many cases the toast stimulates the sedation of strength and masculine values. Everyone who participates in the toast is involved in happy moments. If on a family holiday, when the young couple’s child is born in this family, the first toast is raised for the baby or the “sebepçiu” (the cause). Sometimes, when there are good folk singers in the table, they sing old folks songs and there are stricts rules about it.

You will truly enjoy a true traditional Albanian dinner, with all the toasts and singing, so make sure not to go away without receiving an invitation.

Dollia is precious to Albanians and they consider it as a “gift from God”.

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