New Year 2011: A Year of Synergy for All Ethiopians

Addis Ababa Despite the ebb and flow that the country had to sustain over the year, Ethiopian fiscal year 2010 has now become a watershed between the previous status quo ante of the political system and the massive reform initiatives spearheaded by the prime minister and the EPRDF.

The public unrest triggered by lack of good governance, substandard service delivery and rent seeking, have all become an Achilles feet on the uninterrupted economic growth of the country.

The sporadic unrest that plagued the country in the year that is ending had resulted in loss of lives and public and private property compelling the government to issue two sets of state of emergencies while a number of embassies issued media advisory for their citizens here and for those who were planning to travel to Ethiopia on business and as tourists.

However, all was not bleak for this country. Ethiopia is now moving towards full stability and more investors and potential businessmen are busy exploring the possibilities for new investments and expansion of previous investments. The diplomatic relations with the neighboring countries and partner countries has been strengthening providing the country with remarkable diplomatic and financial support.

The nation is once again getting ready to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year with unprecedented paraphernalia and with a nationwide synergy to promote peace, love, unity and national reconciliation.

Internally the government has already released thousands of prisoners based on the principles of widening the political space, pardon and amnesty to promote peace and love among the public.

Besides, the visit paid by the prime minister to the neighboring countries not only helped to strengthen the ongoing diplomatic and economic relations but also created a sense of hope and confidence among the public and for those who were released from prisons in the neighboring countries.

The visit paid to the USA by a team led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed opened a new era among the opposition political parties who were at loggerheads with each other. Organized mostly on ethnic lines, these parties had no common ground on which they could have cooperated. The message of forgiveness that was mad by the premier surprisingly created a spirit of unity, love and forgiveness among the Ethiopians in the USA.

As the result of the invitation extended to all the parties and individual Ethiopians, hundreds of Ethiopians have come home to not only to celebrate the new year but also to express their commitment to the ongoing reform in the country and to contribute their part in the socio-economic development of the nation. Parties who were listed as terrorist organizations (i.e. OLF, ONLF, Ginbot 7) by the HPR were accorded full cancellation from the list of terrorists.

The last four months of the year saw unprecedented events in Ethiopian foreign policy and diplomacy which resulted in the historic peace with Eritrea, the reconciliation between the two synods of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and between the Muslim Supreme Council of Ethiopia and a group seeking for solutions for problems among Muslims in Ethiopia organization

Between the end of August and the whole of September Ethiopia celebrates at least six New Year events at the national and regional levels. Most of these New Year celebrations are associated with conspicuous traditions and religious festivities. Buhe (August 21) (Ashenda(August 16 and on) Inkutatash (September 11) Meskel ( September 27 )Erecha ( end of September ).

Enkutatash is the first day of the New Year in Ethiopia. It occurs on Meskerem 1 on the Ethiopian calendar, which is 11 September (or, during a leap year, 12 September) according to the Gregorian calendar.

This holiday is based on the Ethiopian calendar, which was fixed to the Julian calendar in 25 BC by Emperor Augustus of Rome with a start date of 29 August J.C., thus establishing the New Year on this day. The date marks the approximate end of the rainy season. It has also been associated traditionally with the return of the Queen of Sheba to Ethiopia following her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem in ca. 980 BC.

In rural Ethiopia citizens mark the New Year as a season of reunion after the rains have subsided. AdeyAbeba a yellow-colored flower that blooms at the end of the rainy season (August/September) in Ethiopia appears for some two months to herald the New Year only to disappear until next year the same time. They are often gathered by children and given to family and friends as gifts.

MegabeMistirFiresembetDubale, Secretary of the Council of Scholars at the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church says that the Ethiopian Calendar and the calculation of the New Year in based on the Holy Bible.

The Ethiopian starts with the creation of Adam in the Old Testament more than seven thousand years and ads up to 2011 years since th3e birth of Christ.

The Ethiopian New Year is also dedicated to MetimekuYohannis(John the Baptist) who heralded the birth of Christ and Ethiopians also refer to the day as KidusYohannis (Saint John's Day).

He added The celebration of the New Year by all Ethiopians irrespective of their religion or culture as reiseawudamet (the main holiday) demonstrates the unity among the peoples of Ethiopia in using common calendar.

MegabeMistirFiresembetDubale stressed on the importance of peace as an important prerequisite for development of the country, without the prevalence of peace among all peoples of the country, it is impossible to think of daily life as well as ensuring the well being of Ethiopia.

Speaking of the contribution made by Prime Abiy Ahmed in fostering unity among the two synods of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, MegabeMistirFiresembet said the church is indebted to our Prime Minister, who played a leading role to restore peace among the two synods and the believers in the church.

September 11 or Meskerem 1 according to the Ethiopian calendar is marked as the end of the main rainy season in the country (June to September). Myth has it that the day also marked the return of Queen Sheba from her official visit to King Solomon.

On the eve of the New Year, young boys form smaller groups and move from house to house singing in praise of the new season and wishing happy New Year for the families for whom they sing to the tune of Hoya Hoye while girls walk from house to house singing AbebayehuLemlem and giving gifts of fresh flowers to friends and the neighborhood. On the New Year, young girls sing from house to house with the adeyabeba daises in the hands and wish everyone a happy new year

The New Year is also a season in which students get ready to start the academic year which begins early September in Ethiopia.

And for most Ethiopians, Christian and Muslim alike, it is slaughter a sheep or goat. It is also a time when the Ethiopian traditional chicken stew known as dorowot is most popular in kitchens cross the country is consumed on the New Year and other holidays. Nations, nationalities and peoples in Ethiopia consume different types of traditional food during the New Year and on holidays through the year. Tihelo is consumed in Adigrat (Tigray Region), Kitfo among the Guragehe and Wolayita while a considerable number of Ethiopians eat raw lean meat on almost all festivities.

Ethiopians spend their new year, mainly at home partaking in traditional food and drinks (tella� home brewed traditional beer made from maize or barley and arakee, homemade alcoholic drink),tejj (mead made from honey) accompanied with coffee ceremony. Preparation of New Year traditional food is the duty of women while men are tasked with purchasing goats and sheep or get into groups and buy oxen and share the meat (traditionally known as kircha) among themselves.

No matter what may happen or an ordeal that they may be forced to face, Ethiopians celebrate their new year with optimism hoping for better days to come.

As all Ethiopians here and in the Diaspora celebrate the New Year, events in this country are being fast tracked. Dialogue and negotiations of the ruling part with the competing parties is gaining momentum. A number of political parties including the ruling party EPRDF and other parties are preparing the ground for congresses that will definitely determine the nature of the political system in the country.

Some of the most controversial laws of the country are already under review and more is in store to help democratize the justice system in the country. Partial privatization of some of the commanding heights of the economy will be in full swing in the upcoming year. A roadmap to effectively transform the country's education system is already under discussion.

More accountability and professionalism is being encouraged by the government in making the sector ministries to inter into operational agreements with the standing committees to ensure transparency accountability.

The New Year has a lot in store for the country. The uninterrupted economic growth would still prevail and peace, unity and national consensus on the future of the nation will provide more opportunities for citizens who await for more response to their development demands. Let's bid goodbye to the old year with a smile on our lips and warmth in our heart and welcome the New 2010 Ethiopian Year with happiness and new aspirations. May the New Year bring Ethiopia and her people more courage and vigor to scrap the hardship it faces. Happy New Year.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency