By Biruktayet Bihon
August 13, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- The Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism addressed the Media this week about its preparation to host the traditional festival of Ashenda or Shadey in the capital city, Addis Ababa. This marks the first time the city is officially holding celebration of the festival, which has its roots in northern Ethiopia.
In a press briefing, the Ethiopian Culture and Tourism Minister Hirut Kassaw said the celebration in the capital would create significant opportunities for the promotion of cultural exchange and mutual understanding among various ethnic groups.
The Minster said that the festival being celebrated in northern part of the country (Tigrai and Amhara states), is a sign of people's oneness.
The celebration is called by different names in different parts of northern Ethiopia. It is named Ashenda in most of Tigray, Shadey in northern Amhara, and Solel in Raya Kobo.
Minister Hirut said, “The celebration has both religious and cultural importance. Commemorating this day would strengthen the solidarity of our nation.”
“Such traditional and religious festivals are parts of the government's social and development plans and affirms government’s commitment to strengthen relations between our various communities,” the Minster added.
“The festival is testimony to the unity and fraternity of the peoples of northern Ethiopia. We should observe, preserve, and pass it to the next generation,” Hirut Kassaw said.
The minster called for more efforts to keep such heritage practices, bearing in mind that such traditions have economic and social benefits for all of Ethiopia.
Co-organizer of the festival and head of Amhara Women Association, Tsedale Mekonnen, on her part said celebrating the festival in Addis Ababa for the first time would bring together people from Amhara and Tigray regional states.
According to Tsedale, various preparations are underway for the celebration.
Over 33,000 people are also expected to attend the closing festival. The week-long festival will officially start in the presence of higher federal and state government officials, artists and participants from across the nation and the world.
Typically celebrated between August 16th and 26th every year, Ashenda, Shadey, or Solel marks the end of a two-week fasting in Ethiopian Orthodox Church tradition known as Filseta.
The festival also will be celebrated on August 25, 2019, at the Millennium hall.