Deities of Love: Prende
Prende is the goddess of love and beauty in the Albanian mythology. She is the wife of Perendi, and referred to in Albanian legends as Zonja e Bukuris (“Lady of Beauty”), while her sacred day was Friday.
Prende is analogous to the Roman goddess, Venus, but there may be a potential connection with the Norse goddess, Freyja too, who is also a goddess of love and beauty. In “A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology, and Folk Culture”, the author Robert Elsie explains how Prende was worshipped in northern Albania, especially by the Albanian women. Prende’s festival was celebrated on July 26 every year, and her devotees would don beautiful clothing and would set out a mortar and pestle as a representation of sexual union. Elsie also explains how the rainbow is sacred to Veneranda, a Latin term for the goddess Venus, and the rainbow is referenced as “Lady Prende’s Belt”.
When Albania became Christianized in the early Middle Ages, Prende was identified by the Catholic Church as Saint Anne, mother of Virgin Mary Albanian: Shënepremte or Prende, known in Gheg dialect as Prenne or Perende.