The New Year is celebrated in Ethiopia this weekend. The Liffey Geals GAA club was the venue for the event in Dublin. The Ethiopian Community in Ireland hosted the event.
Breads such as the pancake-like flatbread injera and the more conventional looking (to Western eyes) dabo were served up by the chef-du-jour Fedila to complement a delicious array of traditional dishes she had made. Zeleke was good enough to run through the meals. Doro, a kind of stew, and kitfo – minced meat, were among the many foods on offer at the party.
Speeches were made by prominent members of the Ethiopian Community in Ireland group, board member Dr. Ati Ferede and the aforementioned board chairman Zeleke Fantaye.
Dr. Ati Ferede explained that the New Year as celebrated in Ethiopia marks the end of the rainy season, that the Ethiopian calendar was correlated to Europe’s Julian calendar some years before Christ’s birth, and that the New Year also ties in with the return of the Queen of Sheba from a visit to King Solomon.
The new year is 2009 according to the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar – behind the Gregorian calendar used by many in the West.
“I’d like to thank all those who helped to organise the event especially to Dublin City Council for their ongoing support,” Mr. Fantaye said. He also thanked the Liffey Geals GAA club for providing the venue, the board and committee members, and Fedila for providing the food.
As Mr. Fantaye outlined in the course of his speech, the aims of the Ethiopian Community in Ireland include the provision of support to new arrivals to Irish shores, and assistance among the Irish-Ethiopians in remembering the heritage, language and culture of their homeland.
Zelalem DJed during the festivities, providing music that fused traditional and international elements.
One wall of the hall was taken up with some artwork by Ethiopian painter Tessema Temtimie, who has exhibited around the world and is currently living and working in Dubai. Temtimie is a graduate of Addis Ababa’s University of Fine Arts.
The wonderful family-friendly event had a large room off the main hall providing entertainment for kids. We’ll post more details of the event later in the week.
For now, though, we wish our Ethiopian friends in Ireland a Happy and Prosperous New Year.