The bridal party and guests at the wedding of Artemissia [nee Hari] and Pandi Thomas at the bride’s family farmhouse in Bagnoo, New South Wales, 1944.
Source: Museum Victoria
For Albanians, kurbet was inextricably linked with family and ensuring its survival and future. Being reunited with family members – with wives and children – or marrying women from the homelands and bringing them out to Australia to establish families remained a high priority. With the gradual arrival of women, Albanians in Australia were able to build their futures in their kurbet home.
Weddings are a highlight in the lives of Albanians. They are large events, typically lavish and culturally and symbolically rich. By tradition, marriage signifies a pivotal life event, a major life accomplishment. It also connotes a key change in social status and positioning for the young couple, as well as for their parents and grandparents.
The political situation in Albania from the end of the war until the 1990s severely disrupted the custom of finding marriage partners and arranging traditional Albanian weddings. Many Albanians in Australia sought marriage partners from Albanian enclaves of the former Ottoman Empire, including Yugoslavia and Turkey. Others sought Muslim partners from among other communities, or intermarried with members of non-Muslim communities in Australia.
With the collapse of the communist regime in Albania and the demise of former Yugoslavia, some second and third generation Albanians have resumed the custom of marrying Albanians from their former homelands.