Enkutatash (Ethiopic እንቁጣጣሽ), a Flowery Ethiopian New Year


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Ethiopia celebrates its new year annually, while the butter flowers or the yellow daisies shoot forth. Ethiopian new year is manifested by numerous attractive sceneries that see off the departing old year and usher in the new one. On the foot of the country’s mountainous, boasting of a vast array of endemic flora and fauna, full-year flowing huge rivers afford memorable trips to most corners of the nation. The piquant traditional, cultural and well established hospitality of the citizenry is also heartening.

Enkutatash, comes first on the calendar of cultural holidays which the present generation too celebrate. It is a manifestation of the nation’s diversified seasonal shows. It as well serves as an occasion nation and nationalities showcase their costumes,they put on this land mark holiday that opens another chapter.

For tourists, parallel to observing greenery and must-see natural events, it could be worthwhile to observe traditional ceremonies that attend this holiday. During this time it is mesmerizing observing exquisite butter cups, newly growing crops on the farm land and farmers engrossed in activities unconstrained by accidental rainfalls. It is also refreshing tuning to birds singing tune as if ecstatic in welcoming the sunny season.

The ground looks a green carpet bearing motley artificial flowers. It is interesting to hear child girls accentuate the event with melodious songs while they sing the new year song Enkutatash.

In this article, this writer tries to depict issues that revolve around the cultural ceremonial proceeding, feelings of individuals as well as memories of Ethiopian new year and tries to assess what it looks like. In addition to this, it also observes how people react to the new year social occasion. Enjoy Ethiopian New year.

"In my childhood days, I used to eagerly look forward to something special when a new year draws nigh. Those days are memorable and indelible.

But a grown up the feeling is not that fervent.

I recall in the good old days the way the neighborhood convene and celebrate the holiday having a cup of Ethiopian traditional coffee,the green emerald and the socializing agent. The songs and plays of children conjures up in mind a memorable image. That time I was one of the main facilitator and coordinator of the games that we played together keeping the former game rules and principles. Following this, currently I spend most of the new year ceremony passing my time with my former child friends rewinding our memories back as we do on Sundays,"

so said Surafel Teka teacher here in Addis.

He told this writer that as just everybody else he becomes extravagant in spending money that day. On the other hand, he says that it is customary for family heads on the eve or during the holiday week to bend over backwards or expend much money to cater to the holiday’s innumerable demands.

The other interviewee is Amanuel Eshetu leading a bachelor life here in Addis after graduating a year ago from Bahir Dar university. He said that a new year is a special occasion that brings the people together to exchange best wishes–A happy and prosperous Ethiopian Year-- enjoy the new year, renew relationships, promote togetherness as well as motivate individuals for further accomplishments in life. He awaits the new year eager to mend wrong turns and to do something better and greater than gained achievements. Year after year, everyone dreams to better accomplish in life but translating that might not prove simple.

He said in rural areas one could feast one’s eye on how the old and new years exchange robs, on how mother nature puts on its green mantle adorned with flowers as well as on the zigzag flowing rivers. It is also elating to watch the happiness stamped faces of people which mirrors transition from a gloomy to a bright season.

He said he prepares ahead of time to render the day colorful,memorable and an occasion of cordiality and togetherness. Every ceremonial occasion of the day is expected to be alluring and creating enchantment. Thus not to miss another memorable time of this nature I have a plan to holiday at Bahir Dar together with family members, relatives, neighbor and church congregants. There,such togetherness help me revert back to the past. The spirit of thinking for the needy reminds me our deeply entrenched feelings of considerateness.

Everyone might have different take about the coming of a new year that brings a good hope to every citizen and the motherland. Assessing past performances, most individuals vow to themselves to accomplish set plans in the ensuing year. Marshy and dry lands dry up basking under the sunny season.

New year is considered a springboard that propels a person to success, profitability, acceptability as well as gaining more blessings. It as well is an occasion for forging good relationships with more people around.

In Ethiopia, every segments of the society is highly enthusiastic to celebrate holidays together. Nations and nationalities have their own unique form of ceremonial process which expresses their long lasted forefathers inherited celebration process.

Most of the time specially children give due attention to new year in Ethiopia. They have their own way of marking the day. They prepare beforehand white paper and paints. Drawing lessons from their elders, preparing paintings–flowers and angles–p they will give it as a gift to relatives and people in the neighborhood. Most of the time they receive money in return. On this day people make doors open, dogs chained, and shower this children with different gifts. The gifts include; money, stationery materials, clothing as well as other rewards. The society presents this gift to them with the belief that the happiness of children renders the whole environment a place of bliss and happiness.

On that day everyone is expected to stay joyful,sumptuously dress with their Sunday best or new clothes, feel new, dine together an array of mouth watering dishes and bout alcohol or beverages as well as present gifts to the helpless. But they never forget to support the needy to celebrate and enjoy the holiday with a similar feeling. Some think any mishap that day augurs unhealthiness and unsuccessful throughout the year.

The aforementioned motivating reasons are the inducements that make people readytwo or three months ahead of the actual day.

Also, most of the time,some individuals exchange memorable gift articles with each other to cement or refresh relationship. For instance friends, colleagues, neighbors and people acquainted on some occasion are seen exchanging gifts. Nowadays Public Relation officers dispatch post cards bearing their mission and visions together with best wishes.

Kalkidan Teferi, resident of Addis lead her life through buying and selling gift articles w in her small souvenir shop located at the heart of the city in Piassa. She says that most of the time the market becomes warm during holidays.

“When new year ensues people think of exchanging gifts. Thus to satisfy the demand of our customers we strive in gathering most attractive cultural and ancient souvenirs and handicraft items from different parts of the nation that convey a new year message. In order to avail attractive gifts to the day We collect some of the items from the countryside. Our customers’ demand is divers.”

Be it small or large the gift’s size doesn’t matter. The main objective of new year gift is boosting and renewing relationship, expressing best wishes. It could also be sen as acknowledging that person. Especially new year gifts play a tangible and shortcut ways to express love, gratitude, hope, cooperation, readiness to work together and much more among the receiver and presenter group of the gift article. Such gestures induce and strengthen their proximity and ties.

Moreover, the flower market in the country would also shown a good progress following the transition period from the the old year to the new one. Everyone prefers to observe the old flower on the table to replaced new ones.

Eldana Sidelil is one of the flower retailer in the city. She reflects her view about the flower market saying

“It is highly dependable on different ceremonial occasions such as holidays, engagement or graduation.”

Thus the habit of flower consumption is still at its grass root level. For instance, during this new year one might observe clients thronging flower shops but the market falls sharply then after.

Summing up, it is such a captivating holiday that individuals plan and gear up to implement their set goals in their walks of life or personal life. Not only embarking on a new year, life also needs a scheduled plan and a well managed situation to head towards fruitfulness. You readers might also have extra plans in your work, education, business and much more. The main agenda is leading life committed and purposefully to contribute due share to our planet. May your new year plan be achievable and fruitful!, May you contribute something worth while to the society.

Dreaming big, accomplishing new tasks, becoming the winners as well as being the role models in our profession are possible while being organized in a substantiated manner. Thus, in order to actualize you dream lay the cornerstone at the starting point of your new year. This starting point awakens you to go straight tackling obstacles to meet your final destination.

New year also serves for refreshing the year long fatigued mind, widen thinking as well as bring new thoughts initiating plans or new assignments for future endeavor and finally enhance perform better than the past year.

Lastly may all of you have a prosperous, successful, peaceful and fruitful new year that is filled with full of happiness.