IUCN project “Institutional Support for Protected Areas in Albania” and NGO PPNEA promoted nature conservation among local population during the “Traditional Festival of Flowers of Stebleve” held in the Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park. Nature, local traditions and culture were celebrated on 6 May.
Spring in the Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park, apart from enriching the landscapes with magnificent colours revitalizes the social life of inhabitants through gatherings and joyful celebrations. One of them is the “Traditional Festival of Flowers in Stebleve” that takes place every May in one of the most beautiful plains of the National Park: the fields of Fushe-Studa.
The “Traditional Festival of Flowers of Stebleve” is an ancient tradition originating from the St. George day, a religious ritual celebrating the renewal of everything that surrounds man. This year, on 6 May, the Festival gathered more than a thousand people including the inhabitants of the Stebleve and neighbouring communes, and tourists. The festival was opened by the mayor of Stebleve, Mr Alban Fejza and the regional deputy in the Parliament of Albania, Mr Taulant Balla. Their speeches encouraged the preservation of the local traditions and culture. The festival continued with performances of traditional folk music and dancing. IUCN and PPNEA stand was visited by many participants, mainly young people, where they learned about the Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park and the nature conservation needs and benefits. An afternoon rain shower, rather than discouraging the participants, increased their enjoyment as this is locally believed to be a sign of richness and well-being for the coming year. Traditional and homemade dishes were presented and offered at every table, around which families and friends gathered until late afternoon.
Prepared by Mirjan Topi, PPNEA