Ethiopia’s Intangible Heritages of New Year Celebration
A number of Ethiopia’s intangible heritages get celebrated around the Ethiopian New Year which is just at the corner. These celebrations are entirely inclusive in which crowd of a specific nation or nationality or people are actively involved out of their own will, beliefs, aspirations and wishes about the New Year.
Although Ethiopia’s New Year is officially marked on September 11, a number of nations, nationalities and people mark their own traditional New Year celebrations on different dates every year.
Buhe, one of the intangible cultural heritages was celebrated on the 19th of August by children both in the rural and urban settings. Various bands of small children come together and sing songs making rounds from house to house singing jostling hoya hoye with sticks in their hands to keep their rhythm. As a reward for their songs they get loaves of bread or mulmul. The kids prepare whips made from peeled tree or from sisal and thrust it into the air to make an explosive sound in memory of the Transfiguration of Jesus at Mount Debere Tabor.
Buhe also heralds the end of the rainy season ( Kerepmpt ) and the inception of the bright spring season as an Amharic sonnet goes ” Buhe Kalefee Yelem Kerempti, doro ke chohey yelem lelitti) meaning “After Buhe there is no more rainy season and after rooster crows the night subsides”.
Enkutatash is marked on the first day of the New Year in Ethiopia. That is Meskerem 1 on the Ethiopian calendar, which is 11 September (or, during a leap year, 12 September) according to the Gregorian calendar.
Enkutatash means the “gift of jewels”. Is associated with the famous Queen of Sheba who returned from her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her with gifts of jewels or inku. Enkutatash is celebrated with a pompous paraphernalia particularly among children who go from house to house with their adey abeba – traditional bouquet of flowers, singing, chanting and welcoming the bright Ethiopian spring.