14 June 2018

Ethiopia: Sidama People Celebrate New Year

ADDIS ABABA - Fiche Chambalala, the traditional New Year celebration of the Sidama People, was colorfully celebrated on Tuesday at Hawassa, the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' State (SNNP).

UNESCO has already inscribed this spectacular festival on the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

On the occasion, Fozia Amin, Minister of Culture and Tourism said the Fiche Chambalala is not only the celebration of the Sidama but of all humanity and the youth should preserve this unique tradition without losing its original features.

Desse Dalke, President of SNNP state on the occasion said keeping the tradition of elders, the youth should follow suit in presenting their concerns and complaints in a peaceful and civilized manner.

With this, they should also take the responsibility of preserving this long held tradition and the overall culture of the Sidama, he added.

Lemma Mesele, deputy head of SNNPR culture and Tourism office, said the state is home to various manmade and natural heritages.

Besdeis the success in registering the New Year celebration, efforts are underway to register the Gedeo's agro forestry and landscape under UNESCO'S list of heritage sites.

According to the oral tradition, Fichee commemorates a Sidama woman who visited her parents and relatives once a year after her marriage, bringing "buurisame", a meal prepared from false banana, milk and butter, which was shared with neighbours.

Fichee has since become a unifying symbol of the Sidama people. Each year, astrologers determine the correct date for the festival, which is then announced to the clans. Communal events take place throughout the festival, including traditional songs and dances.

The Sidama people are an ethnic group traditionally inhabiting the Sidama Zone of SNNP.

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