So September is the month of Celebrations here in Ethiopia, with 3 big events to take note of. Note that the exact dates of these can sometimes change by a day or two.
Entutatash – New Year, Eid Al-Adha – Eid celebrations, and Meskel- Orthodox celebrations.
“Melkam addis amet” – Happy New Year. This is the first of the celebrations of the month. Usually celebrated on the 11th (our calendar date)! Ethiopia follows a different calendar to our traditional western calendar. Firstly there are 13 months to the year not 12, you can try and get your head around it; i have decided it hurts too much. However, In our 2015 they have just celebrated the bringing in of 2008. This does mean that i am now 7 years younger, that I can go with. They celebrate by the usual celebrations of partying with friends; maybe a bonfire and some dancing, new year’s day will be spent with family and the slaughter of a goat for tea. The days that followed saw many a goats head discarded on the side of the street.
A few weeks later on the 23rd we have EID al-adha, this is an Islamic festival celebrated all around the world to commemorate the willingness of Abrahim to follow allahs command to sacrifice his son. The Muslims celebrate here with 1000s of people heading to Meskal square in the morning for a mass congregation of people to take morning mass. As people disperse there is much partying and traditional dancing amongst the young boys with crowds following them up the streets. I then had the privilege to join Ahlams family on their tour to visit various family members to wish everyone a happy holiday. Traditionally a goat is on the menu, for Ahlams family there were 3 goats waiting to be slaughtered. 1st for dinner that day, the 2nd for the freezer, and the 3rd for local needy families. To witness your first slaughter is not for the faint hearted. (i can go into detail verbally on request but it isn’t for everyone).
Our 3rd and final celebration in September (28th) is just days after the last and is called “Meskel”. This is the Orthodox day in which they celebrate the ‘finding of the true Cross’. The story goes;”St Helena (mother of Emperor Constantine) went to Jerusalem (in the 4th Century) to look for the Cross Christ was crucified on. She was advised to light a fire which would show her where to look. The smoke from the fire pointed to the place the cross was buried. Pieces of the cross were given to all the churches, which Ethiopia still claim to have”. The celebration which sees all of the church leaders gather in Meskel square, along with a procession of the churches dancing and singing, followed by a large bonfire representing that of St Helenas. Large crowds gather so it is worth getting there early to get a good spot. The following day is again spent with family and the trusty goat is also brought out for dinner.
This Blogs word is Eat = Blah / Bee / Balue (m/f/many)