21 Nov

Albanian women

Albanian women traditions , culture and going back 300 years ago

About a few months ago I had the idea to make myself a little research on the phenomenon of which I had learned that through the site Albanian Forum that I attend from time to time. It ‘a very interesting phenomenon that of Village Albanian women (from the date Albanian butter, man), namely women who are men without plastic surgery, but following an ancient tradition of the mountains and Kosovo Albanians that dates back more than 300 years ago and which still remain some very rare examples. A tradition that has nothing to do, or very little, with homosexuality. These are women who have pledged chastity and total for the entire life to win the honor of being a man. This kind of transition provides the right to dress, to be armed, to fight to inherit the family property that would otherwise not remain in any family, but also to afford luxuries perfectly masculine, such as smoking and alcohol, forbidden to women in Albanian society. Now the argument is again thanks to Grinzane Cavour prize that was given to an Albanian writer who has published his first novel in English and tells of the “sworn virgins”.

Albanian Women class 1960
The writer in question is Elvira Dones, class 1960, writer, journalist and documentary filmmaker. Immigrated to Switzerland in 1988 when Albania was still tightly closed, has spent the past 20 years between Ticino and Washington where he lives now. His books are translated into different languages and in particular in Albanian. “Virgin oath”, written in Albanian, tells the story of an Albanian woman who after changing social role by becoming man, as expected usage the ancient northern Albanian, wants to recover the lost femininity emigrating to another country. Based on the novel product will be a film that will lead the signing of a co-Albanian American. The book Dones says, does not want to tell stories of exotic and primitive mountain arrears, but write the loneliness of these women, what happens to them while the body ages, rots, its reborn again, never give anyone and without ever receive either a caress or a hug. This particular cut to respectable, more psychological anthropology, but does not absolve us from seeking to investigate more in social habits of this part of the world and inevitably you get to draw a line of surface is not distant cultures, but also ” exotic. ”


Kanuni of Leke Dukagjini

And then I discover that this is an old phenomenon governed by traditional law and particularly by the highest of the unwritten codes come so far, the Kanuni of Leke Dukagjini, an oral law, with a decidedly stronger than our simple habit, comparable, From a strictly legal point to a code of civil law and family, but also dealing with criminal law. It is recognized, in particular, the right of the woman proclaimed man to behave as a man and to acquire all the rights that Kanuni reserve exclusively to men. The existence of this phenomenon have testimony from at least 200 years, but it seems that its spread has been always low and only a tool to avoid extreme penalties conditioned by social rules and the same Kanuni. The Kanuni refers to them with the term “women dressed men”, since the men’s clothing was seen as an element justifying the oath of conversion done before 12 men of the village. After the oath Virgjina (the virgin) took a male behavior, took a man’s name, you Armavir, and could smoke, drink and eat with men in the room where women were not allowed to stay. Also acquired the right to sell, buy and manage properties and could also participate in war and revenge between clans, equal rights to other men. One hard, that must be respected to the end for the honor of the family. Do not you become a virgin for religious issues: the village Albanian women are both Muslim and Christian? Often, however, she must pay with chastity after having refused the promise of a marriage. The conversion occurs mainly in the absence of males in the family. A girl becomes a man to inherit the family property that otherwise could not have. But the conversion is done in memory of a father who died early or a brother. And ‘the case, for example, Rakipi Diana, 54 years, the sixth of nine children, who now works as a security guard at the port of Durres: “My brother died for the curse of an evil eye. – Tells – so I have to remember wanted to be a male beautiful as it was him.


Albanian women tradition
The ritual, which is rooted in a tribal culture provides a ceremony imbued with sacredness. “The conversion is done when the girl, flourished girl, swears her virginity before the 12 men most of the village.” Leya, another witness to this reality, has 56 years and retains a clear memory of the ceremony that changed his life forever: “quake. It was the pride of becoming a man, but also afraid to leave the nostalgia and my dreams girl. Then the oldest of the village gave me his jacket to hunter and the youngest his rifle from the defense. Then the old man with his hands rough cut one by one my curls that blacks are rolled on the ground as my femininity. I had become a real man. ” Today, the protagonist of this story lives in Tropoje, where he worked as a carpenter. It seems there are also women become men to escape from unwanted marriage. Accepting the condition of village albanian women requires a sacrifice beyond all limits, not only for strictly imposed chastity, but also because, being a man in every respect, we must also bear responsibilities, duties and even “trades” virile, which require considerable physical effort. The tradition of virgins has an explanation even more modern. In the rural areas Albania where a woman smoking, work, sex becomes a shame, the village Albanian women you put this mask on him just to live. And maybe even to hide his homosexuality, a sacrilege that his country is not imagined. Knowing the cultural phenomena minority is a luxury that people belong to a culture that is open to others and most of all have a responsibility to understand.

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