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Happy New Years Eritrea and Ethiopia

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Oh let the celebrations begin!

Eritrean and Ethiopian New Years is one of the biggest celebrated festivities in both in the Horn of Africa and the diaspora.

The Eritrean and Ethiopian calendar is derived from that of ancient Egypt, but is unique to both these countries. The seven- to eight-year gap between the East African and Western calendars results from differing methods of calculating the date of the Annunciation.

In 2010, during my four month graduate research visit to Addis Ababa, I was able to end my trip with a unique celebration that I’ve never experienced before in Africa. After dealing with three months of heavy rain, I was excited to finally see the season coming to an end as the sun slowly started to come out. Seeing the flowers blossom all over and fields changing into bright green brought excipient to me.

My cousins told me the season of change is a period when the old blesses the young and the young hope for new prospects, which New Years brings about.

As a vegetarian I didn’t eat any of the meat, but I enjoyed observing the daylong celebrations. I started my early morning by watching my cousins slaughter the animals, followed by preparing a special lunch, which consists of mainly Injera and wot.

As the adults spent their morning preparing the food and drinks, children also got involved and shoed their own way of celebrating. The boys prepared hand pointed pictures and gave it out to neighbors and relatives through out the community. Little girls gathered together singing in groups as they dressed in their beautiful white habesha dresses.

It was amazing to not only witness, but also be apart of a celebration that brought people together through God, art, food and love. So as Eritrean, Ethiopian and the diaspora are getting ready to embark and celebrate another year of blessings, I will be celebrating a cup of bunn (coffee) and wishing my people all the best.

Melkam Hadish Amet!

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