Ethiopia is reach by religious holidays and also cultural holidays most of them are annual festivals but there are also festivals without specific time just celebrated by the society’s believes and traditions the well known festivals are the following:-
Ashenda in other area also called Shadey this celebration is widely celebrate in Tigray and also northern Amhara regions by great ceremony, this festival is for girls they celebrated by dancing and singing with drum one house to other in their village the people give them food, drink and now a day money this celebration continue until the sun set this goes to 10 days it depends in the area mostly it’s from August 17 – 25 this time is the beginning of the new year in Ethiopian calendar also the ending of FISLETA fasting, the name called Ashenda comes from the green tall grass of the area its around 80-90 cm this grass is a decoration for this festival the girls make it circle around their waist on the beautiful traditional dress.
Which falls on September 27 (meskerem16) by Ethiopian calendar and which celebrates to remember the discovery of the true cross by queen Helena the mother of Constantine the Great, this celebration include burning of a large bonfire to imply the smoke drifted towards the direction of the buried cross, this bonfire is called “Demera”, people gather in churches and central area to remember the true cross discovery by amazing ceremony this ceremony is best in Addis Ababa Meskel square, UNESCO give its recognition for this festival as a intangible world heritage.
The Erecha festival is celebrated by the Oromo people of Ethiopia, it is a thanks giving to God(WAQA) , the celebration takes place at the Lake shore of Hora, in the Bishoftu town this town is only 30 minutes drive from the capital , over 2 million people attend this annual colorful festival, the (ABA GEDA’s) father of the society’s and mothers walk by holding a green grass and yellow flower by thanking to God (WAQA) until they arrive to the lake shore, this festival celebrated on the first Sunday after Meskel celebrated in September, now this celebration is became one of Ethiopian UNESCO intangible festival.
The Great Ethiopian run is a colorful annual festival which is held on the end of November , it covers 10 km in the streets of Addis Ababa , the festival first launched in 2001 by the famous Ethiopian runner Haile Gebresilassie, since at that time the number of participants are increasing, it has more than 40,000 people participants, people from all over the world gather here to attend the festival, it is also a good chance to meet with the friendly Ethiopian people, the mission of the Great Ethiopian run is to develop mass participation athletic competitions in Ethiopia.
This festival is a colorful annual festival which is held in Arbaminch town in mid December the festival represent all the 56 nation nationalities lives in southern regional state of Ethiopia, the representatives of each nation nationalities gather to this festival to expose their cultures, dances & singing, it’s a good opportunity to experience varieties of cultural diversity of Ethiopian people in one place.
Ethiopian Gena (Ledet) is one of the famous religious holidays celebrated by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, after a 43 days of fasting the Gena (Christmas) celebrated on the day of “Tahisas 29” Ethiopian calendar or January 7 G.C, during this festival there is a well known Game known as “Yegena Chewata” it just look like a hockey game which is played by youths, on this day family members get together for the celebration drinking and eating traditional cuisines, there is an attractive celebration at the famous sacred town of Lalibela with the spectacular religious celebration, it is known as “Beza Kulu” which is held at “Bete Mariam” church surrounding with the colorful priests dressing, chanting and ecclesiastical dance overnight , thousands of pilgrims attend this festivity.
Epiphany of Ethiopia is one of the fascinating festival which falls on January 19&20, the day before the baptism is known as “Ketera” means blocking the water by Geeze language, the holly Tabot (Ark of the covenant) is removed from each church to a central area where the ceremony takes place with the colorful umbrella and clothes, after staying the all night in tent, early assemble around the Tabot and sprinkle holly water over all Christians presents there, then get back to the church by spiritual songs & ecclesiastical dance of the priests also all the Christians.
The HAMMER tribe is found in Omo valley and has so many spectacular unique cultures, one of the ceremonies is the ‘Evangadi’ night this night is the ceremony of dancing & singing by unique moves in their village each day, every unmarried girls & men attend this big ceremony.
This festival is the sign of warrior for men who wants to marry, so every men should involves to this ceremony if he want wife, the hammer peoples believes that a men who jump all the ten bull standing orderly he is strong and he can face problems for his family so every men should jump to have a wife in this tribe, but incase he fails during the jump people assume as weak so he should wait for next year for another chance, but if he succeeds the jumping very well he get ready to exchange his cows with the girl, he will give at least 20 cows for the girls family and he will make her as his wife, a men who have a lot of cows in Hammer tribe he can marry more than one but he doesn’t need to jump the bulls again.
This sport is called “DONGA” the Surma people believe that the man who want to have a wife and showing his warrior he need to make a stick fight with peer, this fight begin with 15 to 30 people on each side and they got a chance to fight one on one, each player beat his opponent as much as he can after a lot of fight the winner of the game choose his wife from the group of girls standing up on the top of hill also they believes that this sport expose their tribe warrior among the neighboring tribes such as the Nyagatom & the south Sudan’s tribes, the program is held just after it rains mostly in summer time.
Fiche Chembelala is a New Year festival celebration for the Sidama’s people, the Sidama people have their own calendar, before deciding the starting date of the new year festival elder of the society count the stars then they announce the date for the society, it is celebrated for 15 days by great ceremony, this unique festival is now became one of the intangible UNESCO world heritage in 2015.