Ethiopian Refugee Women Celebrate Traditional Holiday in Sudan

Ethiopian refugees living in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, at the end of August 2021, to be exact, Friday (27/8) commemorated a traditional holiday that celebrates girls and young women.

“During the celebration we did our hair and wore traditional clothes. We also took pictures and prepared traditional foods, slaughtered a chicken or a lamb, for those who had money. It’s a party for girls and we really enjoyed it,” said 20-year-old student Veiore Kedo and an Ethiopian refugee from Tigray.

During the annual holiday known as Ashenda, women dress in traditional attire and perform folklore-themed dances.

The annual holiday called Ashenda.  (Photo: Mouab)

The annual holiday called Ashenda. (Photo: Mouab)

Ashenda is a tall, green grass found in Ethiopia.

“This celebration is a sign for us women. It is freedom for three days when we can celebrate. It is a traditional holiday for girls and young women that takes place once a year,” said Gabrmdenat Athanoma, an Ethiopian refugee from the Tigray region.

A number of women and their daughters wore the ashenda to adorn their traditional celebratory dresses.

Every year the anniversary is usually celebrated in Tigray and North Amhara in the Ethiopian region at the end of August.

“The celebration is known as Ashanda and dates back 400-500 years. This is a tradition of the Tigray people where girls are celebrated. They have the freedom to do what they want,” said one refugee from Tigray, Talahon Gebre.

The nine-month war in northern Ethiopia has forced thousands of people to flee to Sudan, many of them the Tigray minority, but some of them including Amharic and other ethnic groups.[mg/jm]

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