President Osmani’s speech at Darka e Lamës

Welcome most esteemed friends
Honorable Prime Minister
Honorable Ministers and Members of Parliament,
Dear international friends and partners, ambassadors
Esteemed local producers who have given grace to the Daraka e Lamës, as you did last year as well,
Dear guests,
Esteemed representatives of the media who are here tonight to broadcast this activity;
 
Welcome to "Darka e Lames", the ancient Albanian feast, which dates from the  fifth century and marks the end of the summer, the time of harvests, and a time when we count our blessings and express our gratitude for this year’s crops.  

"Darka e Lames" is part of a rich spiritual tradition, which Albanians have inherited and nurtured since ancient times. Along with other feasted, "Darka e Lamës" has survived for centuries and has been carried down to the present day, becoming an important part of our ancient culture which has influenced the nurture and cultivation of our spirit of solidarity.

For centuries, guided by love and respect, Albanians have supported each other in the process of the cultivation and the harvest of the goods, culminating with the hosting of a dinner to express gratitude for the harvested goods. 

Tonight, we host this dinner, in collaboration with the local producers, to express our gratitude for the blessings produced and originating in our country, for the many a good quality products, for the spirit of collaboration and solidarity which has characterized our nation throughout centuries of history, and for the valuable friendships we have cultivated for many years now.

Dear friends,

The well-known Albanian expression: "Bread, salt and heart" today takes on a deep meaning, because in preparing this special dinner, our local producers have not only made sure to serve  our traditional food, but they also put their hearts into preparation of every single dish, while committing to share our good with friends and beloved ones. This is exactly in line with our tradition! 

And, as we are gathered here tonight, I want to take a moment to remember a very special person who, for as long as he lived, dedicated his life to food preparation in ways that others would only be envious of. Tonight we remember our master chef, the late Përparim Babaliaj, who passed away only a few months ago. We pray for his soul and we remember and cherish his life and deeds through a very special menu that will be served tonight.  

This year’s dinner is organized in still challenging circumstances due to the pandemic.  Tonight, our minds and our hearts go out to the Kosovar families who lost their dear ones as a result of this pandemic. Today, not only are the tables they sit around emptier, but also their hearts. We share their pain and we pray for them!

As we face this challenge, we are reminded of the importance of being there for each other and the importance of trust in each other, - trust in our friends, who have stood by us in good times and bed times, and have shared with us both j oy and anguish and have recited with us the prayers for next year’s crops. 

Traditionally, ‘Darka e Lamës’ stands out as the night when we express our gratitude for the blessings of the nature, but I want to take a moment to give thanks for the special deeds of our people. 

In this difficult period, the doctors and the medical staff were the ones that led the battle against the pandemic. So, tonight once more, we express our deepest gratitude for their sacrifice and hard work.  At these times, it was also deeply challenging to organize the educational system and to make sure that teaching carries on. Deep respect for all the teachers and professors, and for the ones that made it possible for the education system to prevail over the challenges faced, similar to what Albanian used to do in the 1990s through the schools in houses system – always bearing in mind and understanding the profound importance of education as one of the core pillars of a state. 

No matter how difficult this period was, our motivation and strength were rekindled by our youth and those who worked hard and diligently – and then succeeded and made it not only in Kosovo but also around the world. From sports to information technology, from culture and art to science, they showed the world the true image and potential of Kosovo. Therefore, today and every day, we express our gratitude to each and every one of them. And many of them, medics, teachers, artists, filmmakers and fashion designers, scientists and many others have joined us tonight. It is a great pleasure to have you with us!

Dear friends,

Tonight, I also want to express deep gratitude for the founding father of our state, President Rugova, who resumed this tradition in 2002. He compared it to Thanksgiving in the USA. We are thankful to him for bringing this feast back in our tradition.  

As you know, President Rugova always celebrated with friends, worked with friends and thanked them for our well-being. We will always cultivate this valuable tradition of the Albanian people, because we consider just like our president, that the cultivation of tradition does keep alive the spirit of a nation.

By thanking each and every one of you for your presence tonight, allow me to invite you to sit around the so called “sofra” and to express our gratitude for the blessings, while hoping that the next year will find us in greater wellbeing, better health and prosperity. 

Yet, before we do so, let me express my deep appreciation for the golden hands of the good men of our country who collected this year’s products, who prepared them tonight with much love and those who worked with us to organize this event and to our dear farmers, the ones who put the effort to make this a successful harvesting season. Our local producers are showing their potential not only in Kosovo but also around the world, and their goods and products are being served and consumed in households in all four corners of this world. They need our support so they can be even more present in these markets but also in new ones. I hope that in this endeavor, we will have you by our side.

God bless Kosovo’s products!
God bless our local producers!
Welcome to the dinner table of our country!