The Colorful ENKUTATASH Paintings By Ethiopian Boys


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One of the most brightening Ethiopian New Year’s gifts you can receive from ETHIOPIA during Enkutatash Celebration here in Ethiopia is simply the colorful Enkutatash paintings illustrated by Ethiopian boys.

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Early in the morning during New Year’s day …Ethiopian boys in particular give out these simple but colorful Enkutatash paintings–which illustrates Enkutatatash (Ethiopian New Year) by featuring flower, Angel, Saint or Dove –to receive gifts in return, is an esteemed, once – in – a year and longtime Enkutatash tradition…which I would like to give the homage that it deserves by presenting it at this particular post.

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Talking about New Year’s gifts, I would like to celebrate my other Ethiopian Enkutatash gifts along with the colorful Enkutatash paintings – which I cherish forever!

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And most of all, it is all about…

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TO LUXURIATE THE ORDINARY!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Art, culture, Culture and Tradition, Ethiopia, Events, Holidays, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Happy Ethiopian New Year!


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Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, Ethiopia, Holidays, Inspiration, Quote, Quote of the day, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

ENKUTATASH: Ethiopia Welcoming Year 2007


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The Amharic word Enkutatash means “gift of jewels” in which the Ethiopian New Year’s day eloquently named after besides the two Amharic words–Addis Amet which literally means New Year. Welcoming the New Year right after the rainy season ends when most parts of Ethiopia simply and naturally coated by the beautiful yellow daisies which locally known as Adey Ababa make it seems like receiving jewels from Mother Nature’s priceless gifts.

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Interestingly here in Ethiopia year 2007 is just about to arrive and to be welcomed distinctively once again by Ethiopians through Enkutatash celebration on September 11, 2014.  Since Ethiopia still follows the Julian calendar which makes it 7 years behind the western or Gregorian calendar … a trip to Africa particularly to ETHIOPIA can also mean being few years younger – gift of jewels indeed!

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Like many other major Ethiopian Holidays, Enkutatash is also celebrated in great cheer by Ethiopians. Besides the exotic traditional holiday cuisines and home brewed beer or mead … there are many other details that makes Ethiopian holidays complete. Thus, in this particular post I would love to give homage the top three eloquent and distinctive details that only belong to Enkutatash celebration- in which many Ethiopians have special and inner connection with.

Adey Ababa (Yellow daisy) is simply indicates Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash) here in Ethiopia. Besides the fact the fields are simply dominated by the blossom of Adey Ababa, it is that time of year when almost everything incorporate a single or bouquet of Adey Ababa to mark a New Year, New Beginning and most of all HERE COMES THE SUN!

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Traditional Ethiopian New Year Song is a unique Amharic song which can only be enjoyed during this time of year when Ethiopians are prepared in welcoming the New Year and on the actual celebration day (Enkutatash) as it is sung by young Ethiopian girls incorporated with the beat of a drum and clapping hands.

This particular Ethiopian traditional New Year song comes with a distinctive scene – during the morning of the celebration day young Ethiopian girls groomed with the renowned and glowingly white Ethiopian traditional costume along with bouquet of Adey Ababa and go door to door to sing and give out the flowers and in return receive gifts of different kind from money to Ethiopian traditional home backed bread (Difo Dabo) and to finish off the song with a wish of good health and prosperity to the giver or the household owner and the whole family.

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Ethiopian New Year works of art – Even though  Enkutatash is for young Ethiopian girls, the boys are not just spectators rather it is at this time of year they pick their painting brush to be creative and express themselves on a piece of paper which they give out on a New Year’s day by going to door to door. The paintings usually illustrates Angels, Sun, Dove and Flower with happy, vibrant bright colors like yellow and green on a white piece of paper which I think is a simple work of art that enliven spirit extraordinarily and a great way to start a New Year.

EnkutatashEthiopianNewYear6Hoping you captured the spirit of Enkutatash through its top three eloquent details, now I would like to give homage to the warmly magical Ethiopian Holiday natural Scents as I believe smell spur memories, arouse our senses, indulge and delight us… beside from all our senses, scent is the one that universally connected with spirit and brings with it happy memories like Holidays.

EnkutatashEthiopianNewYear7Starting with Ketema (bunch of freshly picked tall green grass from the field)…strewing Ketema on the floor especially during all Ethiopian holidays, special occasions, events and during the traditional coffee ceremony is an esteemed and longtime Ethiopian tradition whether it is to welcome the holiday spirit or bringing the freshness of nature inside.

EnkutatashEthiopianNewYear8The magical Ethiopian Holiday scent begins with the natural green and earthy scents derived from the fresh green grass which usually accompanied with different kinds of aromatic herbs like Ariti (Artemisia Afra), Tej Sar (Lemon Grass), Hades and so on. From all the holiday items locals buy from the local market, along the streets or around many Ethiopian Orthodox churches, Ketem is one of it and mainly during the holidays. Besides the aromatic herbs, the Ketema bundle features Adey Ababa during Enkutatash celebration.

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EnkutatashEthiopianNewYear12Another interesting Ethiopian household practice to sweeten the air and surroundings especially during the holiday is burning Etan (incense resin) like Frankincense, Myrrh and other. Since Etan is one of the eloquent pieces of Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony,  usually the scent of the burning incense followed by the scent of the roasting coffee beans and together creates the warmly Magical Ethiopian Holiday Scent which many Ethiopians have deep and inner spiritual connection with.

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Wrapped by vibrant happy colors of Yellow – from Adey Ababa, Green – from the fresh green grass, White – from the traditional clothing… immersed in the scent of natural aromatic herbs, roasting coffee beans, burning incense and embraced by the curtain of a smoke that emanates out of the colorful incense brazier with family and friends at home during this time of year is a distinctive Ethiopian Holiday scene.

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Happy Ethiopian New Year!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, culture, Culture and Tradition, Ethiopia, Events, Holidays, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Addis Ababa’s Seasonal Street Delights


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In counting the blessings of the old year before it officially departs and welcoming Ethiopian New Year (September 11, 2014) with new hope, I am inspired to honor Addis Ababa’s seasonal street delights–which as a local I enjoyed one after the other thoroughly every season till the very last bite – by presenting this particular photo essay and share this SWEET BLESSING with the world.  Enjoy!

Preem (Plum) – For Ethiopia, Plum is the once -in -a year succulent, scrumptious, and beautifully red healthy fruit which voraciously picked from the pushcarts every year by the locals as if it appeared for the very first time along the streets of Addis Ababa. Always NEW!

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Shimbra Eshet (Freshly picked green Chickpeas) – A genuine and an exciting opportunity that Africa provides to get all intimate with one of Mother Nature’s nourishing blessings along the buzzing and interesting streets of Addis Ababa.

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Shenkora (Sugar Cane) – Another Ethiopian way of extracting all the sweetness of nature AS IT IS under the blazing sun of Africa.

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Tamar (Date Palm) – One of Addis Ababa’s seasonal street delights that the sweet blessing of RAMADAN brings along … all the way from the Middle East to the capital of Africa – Addis Ababa.

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Beles (Prickly Pear /Cactus Fruit) – In spite of the fact that Beles recently joins Addis Ababa’s seasonal street delights and the inconvenience of pealing it because of its prickly nature … doesn’t stop many locals to enjoy its deliciousness along the streets of Addis Ababa including me… Love it!

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Bekolo Tibs (Roasted corn) and Sikuar Dinch Kikil(Boiled Sweet Potato) – The soul warming delights that Ethiopian rainy season grants to be enjoyed along the cold and muddy streets of Addis Ababa or at home during this time of year.

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In Celebrating EVERYDAY blessings that Addis Ababa’s EVERYDAY Life offers!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, Ethiopia, Food, Food Travel, Fruit and Vegetable, Nature, snack, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

KOLO: The Cherished Ethiopian Snack


koloEthiopianSnack1Ethiopia has an innate and fascinating history of grain based culinary tradition.  Accordingly many Ethiopian knows how to indulge their body and soul with different kinds of nutritious and healthy grains whether by making a national staple food out of it to a simple snack like Kolo – simply roasted grain mix.

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Since Kolo has long shelf life, it is usually prepared in bulk, stored in a container and served in smaller portion on a little plate for the household members or esteemed Ethiopian household guests to nibble on delicious roasted grains.

Here in Ethiopia Kolo is usually enjoyed between meals, while having traditional coffee or drinking Ethiopian traditional home brewed beer (Tela).

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Barley is the main grain which dominated the combination about 75% in preparing Kolo, Chickpeas and Sunflower seed cover the rest in completing the combination. The right kind of Barley grain which is locally known as Senef Kolo picked from the local market. Skillfully and patiently roasting the grains separately on a large roasting pan, creatively playing with it till it is evenly and beautifully roasted … brings out the delicious nutty flavor, delightful crunchiness and of course the genuine taste of this cherished Ethiopian snack – Kolo.

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Within Ethiopian traditional home snack preparing practice, the other interesting detail that needs to be mentioned is the fact that two kind of paste are prepared to add flavor by literally coating the roasted grains with it. For savory flavor – exactly how many Ethiopians like it – the paste is prepared with a little bit of cooking oil and Berbere (Ethiopian spice mix). For a sweet taste, organic honey and crushed Nug (Niger Seed) blend is used.

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Here in Addis Ababa and other parts of the country, there are many people who make a living by selling Kolo along the streets and around local open air bars as locals loves to enjoy their locally brewed beer along with home prepared Ethiopian snack – Kolo.

This home prepared Ethiopian snack is also packed and sold in little shops and mini supermarkets here in Addis Ababa. The kind of Kolo or roasted grain mix that usually can be found at these shops are, plain roasted barley grain, chickpeas, sunflower seed and added peanut.

For someone who wants to enjoy a particular Kolo – usually roasted chickpeas – which are separately packed, can also be found at these mini supermarkets.

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Kolo is a much cherished travel companion for many Ethiopian travelers. From all travel bundles that many Ethiopian mothers won’t send their children without when they go away from home whether it is to go to school or for work in the other parts of the country or abroad, Kolo is at the top of the list.

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In many monasteries around the country Kolo is more than a snack as many Ethiopian monks only eat Kolo especially during lent offerings as it is part of their esteemed religious practice.

koloEthiopianSnack9Kolo is also served as nibbles during special occasions like major Ethiopian holidays, birthdays, religious celebrations and so on. Since Kolo is close to many Ethiopian hearts, it also function as a special gift to send for loved ones who lives far away from home as nibbling on one of the eloquent pieces of Ethiopia definitely ease nostalgia.

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Something for the Road…from Ethiopia!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, Coffee, culture, Ethiopia, Ethnic Food, Food, Food Travel, snack, Travel, Uncategorized, Vegan Cooking | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Aura Of ASHENDA Over Addis Ababa


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Ashenda is a particular religious and cultural celebration which takes place at the end of Ethiopian year (August – September) in most of the Northern Ethiopia regions. Ashenda takes place right after the two-week-long Lent Offering (Tsome Filseta) – which commemorates the death and incarnation of Virgin Mary (Mother of Jesus) according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Religion.

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Ashenda is more a celebration of Tigray region and other parts of the Northern Ethiopian regions, thus The Tigrigna word Ashenda which literally means “tall green grass” is not the only name that this celebration is known for even though it is widely known by Ashenda.

Solel, Shadei, Mariya, Ashandiye and Ayniwari are the other names of this cultural festivity and the celebration days are also varies from one northern Ethiopian region to the other though it all takes right after the lent offering is over. In Amhara region of Wag Hemra zone and Raya Kobo it is celebrated on August 16, in Lalibela celebrated on August 22, In Adigrat celebrated on August 15-17 and In Aksum town celebrated on August 23-25.

It is also believed that the cultural festivity was originated from another historical legend besides the death and incarnation of Virgin Mary and that is the death of Jehphttah’s son by her father as offer to the God of Israel in the Old Testament.

As Buhe celebration is for Ethiopian boys and young men, Ashenda is mostly for Ethiopian girls and young women like Abebayosh or Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year).

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Here in Addis Ababa many Ethiopian orthodox religion adherents participate in offering the Lent and break the lent by preparing Ethiopian traditional holiday cuisines and attending church services. However, the unique Ashenda celebration is all new for Addis Ababa City and even though it is not as colorful as the Northern part of Ethiopia’s celebration of Ashenda yet, it is so refreshing to see girls and young women wearing traditional costume and singing traditional Ashenda celebration song along with the sound of Kebero (little drum) beat and most of all being one of the eloquent pieces of Ethiopia and representative of their vibrant, beautiful and rich culture in the capital city of Africa – Addis Ababa.

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Though the rainy season is not over yet, Addis Ababa streets officially adds another Africa’s very own interesting scene – colorful, mesmerizing and of course entertaining – thus walking along the street at this time of year should not be featureless anymore because of the cold, mud or rain rather it could be exciting but of course it depends on the way you see it.

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Sitting at one of many Addis Ababa’s cafés also provides another incentive as the kids visit cafés. They also stop by at different kinds of shops along the street singing traditional Ashenda songs which usually praise Virgin Mary and after they receive any kind of gift the lyrics changes to praising the giver and they throw little pieces of colorful papers at the person who give them money or alike and I think this simple but creative act of gratitude can enliven anyone’s spirit.

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I believe Addis Ababa’s miniature Ashenda celebration scene activates the sense of wonder that we are all born with, which unfortunately and usually abandon as we grow up but today I would love to share with the world the ample return for my investment of curiosity.

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Starting with the distinctive hairstyle as it is one of the eloquent pieces of Ashenda celebration, Tigray people and Ethiopia. All girls and women groom themselves by braiding their hair in the most enthralling, creative and of course distinctive way. It is not simply braids rather it is work of art with its own unique name and meaning … you can also witness the famous Albaso hairdo as many girls and women wears it especially at the Ashenda festivity.

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Another beautiful and colorful detail that just simply embellishes this celebration is the traditional clothing. Tilf – the white cotton dress with the colorful embroidery at the front of the dress from the neck line all the way to the bottom and usually ends with the orthodox cross and Shifen – the colorful long dress are the kinds that worn by the girls and women for the celebration.

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The distinctive braid and the impeccably colorful dresses are complemented with different kinds of jewelries like cross necklace, earrings and even jewelers that usually put up on the head. Though it is not an ordinary practice but at this particular celebration the girls wear dark eye shadow and eye liner around their eyes and eyelashes. I must say besides the religious and cultural aspect of the celebration, Ashenda seems like a unique celebration that Ethiopian girls and women creatively and beautifully express themselves.

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Ashenda celebration would not be complete without the tall green grass that the celebration is named after. The grass has two main purposes to make the Ashenda celebration complete. Since the grass is estimated to be at round 80-90 cm minimum height the girls creatively make a skirt out of it and wear it around their waist which makes a fascinating scene when it combined with the traditional dance. And of course this same kind of grass is strewn on the ground in welcoming the holiday spirit.

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Ashenda traditional song which the girls sings in their own language of Tigrigna, the lyrics usually contains words that praise St. Mary and something about the coming Ethiopian New Year ( September 11) with the distinctively enchanting drum beat that just invites everyone to be part of this melodious celebration.

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Ashenda is a colorful celebration with many distinctive and expressive details to make it all complete but to simply state how the celebration materializes in most of the Tigray Northern Ethiopian regions – it is almost a week long celebration that starts from the eve of the actual celebration day which is St. Mary’s day for Ethiopian Orthodox Religion adherent.

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Early in the morning people go to Kidane Miheret (St. Mary) church to attend the morning service and after that the girls gather and go to houses, restaurants and shops singing and receiving gifts. Afterwards the parade forms as they all go to gather at the central point of the village and celebrate it together with the community.

Saying Good Bye to the Old Year with gratitude and grace!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, culture, Culture and Tradition, Ethiopia, Events, Festival, Holidays, Religious, Tigray, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Debre Tabor Celebration


debretaborIt is that time of year again here in Ethiopia to commemorate one of the miraculous moments of Jesus via a particular celebration day (August 19, 2014) which locally known as Buhe or Debre Tabor – an Amharic name of the mountain upon which the transfiguration of Jesus took place – and of course in paving the way for the most anticipated Ethiopian holidays – Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year).

Happy Holidays!

 

Posted in Addis Ababa, culture, Culture and Tradition, Holidays, Religious, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment