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Ethnic Festival
Altar inside of the Church, Ethnic Festival, 2009; Albanian Festival; Worcester, MA; Photography by Ellen Arnstein
Altar inside of the Church, Ethnic Festival, 2009
Albanian Festival
Worcester, MA
Photography by Ellen Arnstein
Food Servers; Ethnic Festival; 2009: Worcester, MA; Collection of Ellen Arnstein
Dancers and Friends; Ethnic Festival; 2009: Worcester, MA; Collection of Ellen Arnstein
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Albanian Festival
Worcester, MA
Web Site
Every other year, St. Mary's Assumption Albanian Orthodox Church in Worcester hosts one of the area's largest Albanian festivals. Over a three-day weekend in mid June, St. Mary's welcomes many of the areas over 15,000 Albanian residents, as well as many other visitors from within and beyond the state. In 2009, the festival welcomed over 20,000 visitors, sharing various aspects of traditional and contemporary Albanian culture with all who attended.

The large tent next to the beautiful Orthodox Church was filled with festival-goers enjoying homemade traditional Albanian food - including some delicious leek pie and smoky lamb kebab - as well as traditional and contemporary Albanian music spun by recent Albanian immigrants, DJ Andrea and DJ JT. Throughout the weekend, a folklore dance troupe performed choreographed dances to traditional Albanian songs. The troupe is comprised solely of young congregation members who spend months preparing to perform. Community volunteers are what make this festival all that it is - from organizing to cooking, everything is done with the help and insight of devoted congregation members.

While the festivities roll, tours of the beautiful St. Mary's Orthodox Church are offered, and upon entering, one becomes acutely aware of what a special, somewhat hidden, treasure the church truly is. In Orthodox tradition, the walls are covered in magnificent icons written by Albanian iconographer Dhmitri Cika, who was on hand this year to discuss his breathtaking work.
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