Three days of freedom: Women’s Ashenda celebration in Mekelle Tigray, North-Ethiopia
Ashenda Festival Tigrai
Ashenda is a unique Tigraian traditional festival which takes place in August to mark the ending of fasting called filseta. This event is mostly for girls and young women, which they await very eagerly every year. It is unique to the people in the state of Tigrai in northern Ethiopia. The name of the festival “Ashenda” comes from the name of a tall grass that the girls make into a skirt and wear it around their waist as a decoration.
The young women and girls dress the best traditional dresses called tilfi which is a cotton dress decorated with amazing embroidery from the neck to toe in front of the dress. The girls also adorned themselves with an array of beautiful jewelry.
After they gather in the village or city center they divide into small groups and they go house to house singing and playing their drums. They stop at every house and sing and dance for the people in the houses. It is customary for people to give them money, food and drinks and other items for their efforts. They continue the whole day going from house to house and occasionally stopping in a village or city center and singing and dancing for a while before they go on again on their tour.
A week or so after the celebrations started, the event comes to an end with all the girls from the village or the town coming together in the center of the town or a village singing and dancing until sundown. This time the young boys join in more like spectators than active players.
Article source: www.tigraionline.com