Drunken Eagle, an Albanian bacchanalia

A banner to warn people the Drunken Eagle party is coming.

A banner to warn people the Drunken Eagle party is coming.

One of the first things you are told as a new student at the American University in Blagoevgrad is that THE party of the year is Drunken Eagle. This is when all Albanian students chip in to cause brain damage to the entire student body. Usually Drunken Eagle is  celebrated around the 28th and 29th of November, which are the Albanian Independence Day and Liberation Day. Tomorrow (Friday the 29th) it’s that time again. Since we believe Drunken Eagle is an initiative worth following all over the world, it’s time for a closer look at this phenomenon with last year’s organizer Ani Murati.

Albanians in general are quite fund of their country. Call it patriotic, call it nationalistic, but around their national holidays in the end of November this national pride reaches a peak. In the American University in the Bulgarian town Blagoevgrad Albanians form one of the larger minorities and so they host their own party, just like the students from Bulgaria and the ones from former Soviet-countries. From these three highlights of the semester, Drunken Eagle is usually the wildest one. The Albanian community takes pride in topping all other parties as all students from Albania and Kosovo contribute large amounts of cash to get alcohol for their fellow students. Ani Murati was one of last year’s organizers and is about to experience his fourth Drunken Eagle. Like no other he knows what this Albanian bacchanalia is about.

From the 1200 students in AUBG how many are Albaians?
“Well around 120. That’s Albanians and Kosovars together.”

Why is this minority so eager to throw the biggest party of the year?
“Because great hospitality runs through our vains. When we celebrate we want everyone around us to share our joy.”

Drunken Eagle 2011.

Drunken Eagle 2011.

How big of a role does alcohol play in Albanian celebrations?
“A definite role. Though we are perceived as a strict Muslim culture you know better. People do all kinds of shit. It’s not like Muslims drink less than Christians. They are just declared Muslims, but we don’t practice. I am half Muslim, half Orthodox Christian, but none of the sides practice religion.”

Do you have any cool stories to tell about previous Drunken Eagle parties?
“Well I don’t know, there are many man. From last year I remember the biggest argument was how much of the budget to spend on alcohol.”

“Well, in the end it was about 90 percent of the budget. The other part was for the venue and marketing. We had whisky, vodka, rum and menta. In total we spent 3.000 dollar on alcohol. And for store prices, not club prices. It was a total fucking armagedon.”

Wow, how many bottles were there?
“On every table there were 2 bottles of whisky, 2 vodka, 1 rum and unlimited refreshments. And this was for 400 to 500 students.”

How is Independence Day usually celebrated in Albania itself?
“During the day there are a lot of cultural activities, but at night it’s more or less the same as Drunken Eagle, when everyone gets shitfaced in clubs.”

Also keep an eye on the weblog of our friend Mary Lomtadze, who will attend Drunken Eagle 2013 and report about it. For now Lords of the Drinks wishes all Albanians and all the people lucky enough to party with them two great days. Gezuar!

Micky Bumbar

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