Holiday

posted in: Life in Ethiopia | 0

Both times I have been in Ethiopia, it has been a public holiday; either I am just plain lucky, or they have holidays all the time.  I have been told that this one is not so well observed, because it is a secular occasion, ordained by the government, but of course I cannot verify that statement.

This particular holiday is called the Irrecha One Oromian regional traditional festival (though that sounds a little clunky, so I guess it has a snappier name for general use.)  Oromo is one of the regions/peoples/languages of Ethiopia, and I am guessing that its colours are red and black, as they seem to dominate posters, costumes, etc.  For both the festivals I have been here for, there is a lot of dressing up to mark the occasion, with white as the predominant colour – extra special in a dusty country.  So it does suggest costumes for our show might be an option.

And the photo?  I was taking my usual walk to undertake chores, this time to buy a local sim card, and came across this group.  I congratulated them on how good they looked, receiving laughing thanks, then asked if I could take a photo.  At first the answer was no, so I walked on, only to be called back.  Mobile, they asked, which led to several selfies on their own phones.  Which didn’t help me a lot, so I pulled out my camera, and asked them to take a photo of us.  Despite some confusion about such an antiquated piece of equipment, and being shown the shutter button, all was well, and I had my photo.

In general, the reaction to me of people on the street is mixed.  Mostly curiosity – there are very few white people in the parts of town I have been frequenting – but also some smiles, friendliness.  Like anywhere, I guess – it depends on who you meet.

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