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Saturday, 22 August 2015 07:42

Asheda Celebration

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Ashenda is a festival celebrated in August in Tigray and Northern Amhara and in neighboring country Eretria.  Ashenda is held after the end of a two-week-long fasting known as ‘Filseta’. This fast is observed by adherents of the Ethiopian Orthodox (Tewahedo Church). They gather to honor the Virgin Mary. Ashenda is a Tigrinya word meaning "tall green grass", estimated at around 80–90 cm minimum height. In the tradition of this religious festival, blades of grass are strewn on the floors of homes and shops as a kind of welcome mat. The festivity of Ashenda has different name throughout the country. For instance, it’s called ‘Shaday’ in Wag Hemra zone and it’s known as ‘Solel’ in Raya Kobo. It’s celebrated on August.16 of every year according to Ethiopia calendar. The same festivity is called ‘Mariya’ (Aug.15-17) and ‘Ayniwari’ (Aug.23-25) in Adigrat and Axum respectively. It is believed that this cultural festivity came to existence from two historical legends that took place.  The first was the death of Jehphttah’s son by his father as an offering to the God of Israel in Old Testament. And the second was the death of Virgin Mary (mother of Jesus). Now a day Ashesnda’s influence has grown from being only cultural and religion event to economical and industrious activities.  It was once a traditionally girls’ festivity. But currently it has gained widespread recognition and popularity among people in northern part of the country and Ethiopian Diaspora community

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