The Taste of Christmas: Traditions, Prohibitions and Alimentary Predilections of the Albanians of the Azov Sea Region

Key words
Albanians, Ukraine, Russia, Sea of Azov, traditional cuisine, festive dishes, Christmas
Alexander A. Novik
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: +7 (812) 328-08-12
3, Universitetskaya emb., St. Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
PhD in History, Chair, Department of European Studies, Leading Researcher, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences
Date of publication

This paper analyzes the Christmas traditions and culinary practices of the Albanians of the Azov region, descendants of Balkan colonists who came the Russian Empire at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The author explores holiday culture in the multi-ethnic region of the Ukrainian-Russian borderland from an anthropological perspective, focusing on the alimentary sphere. This includes the changing “food landscape,” existing gastronomic attitudes and food preferences and evaluative stereotypes that have been transformed under the influence of contacts with other peoples and ethnic groups. The stormy events of the twentieth century caused significant changes in the attitude of these Albanians to religion, traditions, housekeeping, economic, social and moral stereotypes, as well as to food. The influence of neighbors, mainly Russians and Ukrainians, became strong and sometimes dominant. At the same time, traditional cuisine — products and dishes familiar from childhood, especially holiday ones — began to be perceived as one of the main markers and symbols of their ethnic community, along with the native language and folk costume. The local ethnic cuisine assumed high status in the construction of their self-consciousness. Thus interest in it became strongly connected to the search for identity, bursts of which, with varying degrees of intensity, have occurred in various periods from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present, when the importance of the Albanians’ ethnic cuisine for their self-image is incontrovertible.


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For citation

Novik A. A. The Taste of Christmas: Traditions, Prohibitions and Alimentary Predilections of the Albanians of the Azov Sea Region. Traditional Culture. 2022. Vol. 23. No. 3. Pp. 171–183. In Russian.