Article in the Albanian magazine »Spekter«, August 2002
DANISH DIPLOMAT MARRIED WITH ALBANIAN RITUAL
Rare but beautiful: representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Tirana, wedding guests in Burrel. Not only the fireworks that burst in the middle of the night, but also the news that in their small city two foreigners are getting married have amazed the residents of Burrel. The cars of the diplomatic corps which caused a sensation in the small town as well as thewedding guests were followed by the eyes of the town's curious people. The wedding of Soren Knudsen and Gina Schaar was totally Albanian. Not only the marvellous sound of the voice of singer Irma Libohova, but also the traditional garments transformed the marriage of Gina and Soren into an Albanian wedding. As if they were natives, the foreign couple respected the rituals at their wedding. They danced the "Napoleon", popular dances, they even burned the "bachelor's handkerchief". 150 wedding guests, most of whom officially represented various other countries, last Friday in Burrel felt like Albanians.
Really strange, the choice of the foreign diplomat. Not only that the wedding happened in Burrel, in the only nice establishment in the city, but also that it was according to the Albanian customs. But it seems that the foreign couple's preference was not by chance. Soren and Gina have for three years worked in the country's northern zone. All during this time have they become well acquainted with the customs, but Gina speaks Albanian. "Why not? Burrel is a town where we have always been welcomed and where we have dear friends," said Gina about why they chose the northern city for their wedding. Meanwhile the groom -- even on the day of his wedding -- did not take off the mantle of the diplomat. "We think that by inviting our friends here to Burrel, we have created the chance to tell them about the hospitality of the residents. By having our wedding here we have shown that the situation is not as difficult as it seems," said Soren, adding that nowhere else can such a beautiful wedding be organized as there.
WHO ARE THE NEWLYWEDS
It is true that they are not getting married for the first time, but never in their lives have they had a wedding like in Burrel. They danced, sang, lit fireworks, they even warded off the evil eye by breaking a crystal glass. Soren Knudsen works at the Royal Danish Embassy. Soren is the counsellor for development of the Danish government project for developing countries, "DANIDA". Gina Schaar, who wore the bride's dress for the second time in Burrel, works in a project of the American Embassy, "American Bar Association." The newlyweds have only tasted married life for a few days since they are wanted back at work. Meanwhile they have decided to take their honeymoon at the beginning of autumn.
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