Ethiopians vow to strengthen peace and development in the new year
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Ethiopians vow to strengthen peace and development in the new year

Ethiopia has its own clendar system and Ethiopians just celebrated new year of 2010

By Gemechu Tussa
Tigrai Online, Sept. 13, 2017

Ethiopians vow to strengthen peace and development in the new year

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The celebration of the millennium was one of the hottest events in the history of the nation. All the nations, nationalities and peoples of the country were able to reaffirm their commitment to living together harmoniously peacefully. They were also able to reverberate their voices to the world, signifying Africa's ownership of such cultural values.  Beyond enjoying a mere change of year, the events had their own impacts on the overall economic, social and political journey of the nation. More than anything the role they played in motivating the people for better endeavor in development could be mentioned as significant. As the former PM Meles, who was a vibrant proponent of the celebration said the new millennium should be a time for Ethiopia's Renaissance as poverty and backwardness is not a curse.

Ethiopia used to be one of the biggest ancient civilizations of the world centuries back. Its empire expanded vast land, used currencies that resemble the modern ones as well as exercised its own architecture and literature.  Due to several reasons, however, its civilizations went on declining for almost a thousand years until the country suffered from poverty, war and the subsequent humiliation. One of the setbacks the people suffered was the loss of hope and poor mentality of many people in envisioning a bright future for the country. As a result many people chose to leave the nation and seek refuge abroad.

It is easy to imagine the strong determination required to radically change the mindset to renew the negative image and restore the old reputation of the country.

The events of the millennium festivities should be appreciated for the effective motivation they instilled in the minds of the people. The events ushered in the launch of Ethiopia's journey on the path of the Renaissance. However, when many people were highly inspired by the initiatives of the millennium, it is undeniable that many others were also skeptical and pessimistic about the effectiveness.

The fact that Ethiopia has shown tremendous changes during the past ten years is undeniable. 

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Though some people may contest the direct correlation of the motivations created by the millennium events and the country's remarkable achievements, it is crystal clear that it has effectively progressed with the plan it set during the millennium. It is worthwhile to further uphold the golden achievements of the Renaissance movement of the last decade.

While gratifying the achievements we should also give due attention to those factors that are likely to reverse our progress. It is undeniable that corruption will upset our development progress. Moreover, it will hamper the achievements in democracy, governance. Along with commending the achievements of the last decade all citizens should strive more than ever to correct weaknesses observed in the past so as to score better leap forward in the next decade. Especially everyone should stand by the side of the government in its efforts to eliminate the corruption and rent seeking mentalities in the country. Its recent actions should also be viewed in light of the need to seriously stand against all those shortcomings that could derail our journey of the Renaissance.

People should also raise their spirit to further uphold the ongoing efforts of building democratic system and ensuring justice as well as good governance. They need to make further and in depth participation in the political activities of the country as their passiveness would render the system futile.  They should also give due attention to exploit all available economic opportunities in the country to discourage the dangerous illegal migration of the country's work force. Especially religious fathers, community leaders, the government and parents need to work strenuously to discourage the alarming spread of addiction to alcohol, khat and related substances which weaken the work ethics of the youth and negatively affect the country's economy.

Wishing a happy and prosperous New Year we would like to express our deepest conviction if we all forge ahead with the current level of advancement that the next decade will be Ethiopia's time of ascension. For many people how the year begins matters a lot. Beginning the year positively entails a lucky or favorite time ahead, while beginning it with bad moments also means unfortunate. They do whatever they could to have a good start of the year and spend a pleasant holiday.

Apart from making an auspicious start, what makes New Year special is that it is not only a beginning of New Year, but also many memorable occasions in the lives of people.  First and foremost the New year is a moment where people farewell a harsh cold season and receive a bright season with the blossoming yellow flower named Daisies of Meskel (Adey Ababa). The favorite weather condition of the spring where the year begins also ushers in a bright season ahead. As a result the time around the celebration of the New Year is taken as a hopeful time.

It is a beginning of school day in Ethiopia. From elementary schools to colleges students turn their faces from two months of vacation to new grade of school. It signals a step forward. The new year is thus taken as a turning point in peoples lives. The day is actually celebrated by followers of all religious and ethnic background in Ethiopia. But, followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church observe another religious holiday, which is the feast of St. John, the Baptist. They commemorate the day with additional commitment and faith.

The new calendar day, the new bright season and new academic year make the day one of the unique moments to spend in Ethiopia. Unlike other religious holidays celebrated in the country, the New Year day brings together followers of all religions, nations, nationalities and peoples among others.

Hence people add color and warmth to it by renewing houses, buying new clothes organizing hot festivities, among others. This makes it one of the busiest seasons in the commercial activities in the country.

People buy things that are intended not only to celebrate the holiday, but also to fulfill the educational materials of students, say Elshaday Taddese, Eyoha Addis Entertainment and Event Coordination, the organization who organized the ongoing New Years Bazaar at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center, one of the biggest trade fairs in the country.

He says he has been participating in such international level bazaar organized locally for the last five years. What makes the bazaar of the new year unique is that what the suppliers exhibit and what buyers demand is special in the new year.  Very worthwhile as it is, the New Year is also a very costly event to households in Ethiopia. Holiday shopping becomes a very fascinating issue as the New Year closes by.

One of the reasons people dare to spend as much money on it is that they celebrate the day with a lot of food and beverages prepared and served in the very traditional fashion. For example, the most traditional elements in the holiday recipe of Ethiopian households at least include traditional cuisine like doro wat and qey wat, among others. To prepare such food many households prefer to purchase live sheep or chicken and slaughter them at home and do all the process there. Since the live animals people need for the holidays are exchanged in outdoor or open air markets, the large gatherings of people creates a very unusual and impressive gathering.

The typical traditional beverages on common Ethiopian holidays are Tella, (homemade beer), Tej (homemade honey beer or mead), and among Moslems and other religion followers non alcoholic households also brew similar alcohol free drinks and spirits. Big circular bread which is blessed and cut into small pieces to the expected number of the neighbors to come plus the family count by the oldest male family member and served during the coffee ceremony is also one of the integral components of all holidays and is used to express blessings and sacrament to welcome the New Year.

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All these preparations and their processes need both a lot of time and money. For example, the brewing of drinks, which is carried out in a traditional method needs at least 3 weeks of hard work while the rest need about a week. The process of shopping also leaves an unforgettable memory in the minds of those who set out to the typical market places of urban areas across the nation. As mentioned earlier, the New Year is a unique event in that it is indiscriminate as it involves people of all religions as well as it is an important juncture in the seasonal transition as well as the academic year. Hence almost everyone is out in the market to shop.

The markets also sell almost everything during the eve of the New Year. Those who need something for a holiday either food, clothes, gifts are among the major items. In addition, families also take the opportunity to purchase stationary materials for their children who just have to start school immediately after welcoming the New Year.  Despite the time and financial implications, the New Year day remains one of the perennially memorable annual events throughout the country. 

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