Fasika (as I saw it :-))

April 24, 2008 at 7:30 am 24 comments

I wrote the following e-mail to a dear friend from Finland [who was more interested in history, and the weather, than I ever would] on February 26, 2004. It could use a good deal of editing and might sound disrespectful to some [the sister may have always seen things her own way but wasn't always as, shall we say, "politically correct" as she tries to be nowadays?! "Politically correct"! Now that is some concept the Democratic world is shoving down the Ethiopian throat]. But I thought I might as well post it as not many articles seem to exist on the internet regarding Ethiopian holidays [except for few impersonal descriptions by tour operators, travel agents and people who live by the camera] and, ofcouse, because there is no better way to say “Melkam YeTinsae Beal” to my home-sick Ethiopian friends!

“Fasika” (“Festivity”) or “YeTinsae Beal” (Commemoration of The Resurrection), i.e. “Easter” is a very colorful and fascinating holiday in Ethiopia! Most of my relatives are either Protestant Christians or slack Orthodox Christians so I can’t tell you much about the … historical background. However, even the strictest ‘pente’ [as Protestant Christians are called here] can’t resist getting up at 3:00 a.m. in the morning to partake of the ‘doro wot’ [chicken stew, both spicy and delicious] that Ethiopian women cook for holidays after the almost 2 month’s lent. According to the Orthodox Church calendar, the lent has set in about 2 weeks ago. I believe the western [catholic?] church has got a one-month similar lent too. Why the Ethiopian one got extended by 15 more days is because of the extra time, referred to as ‘yengus tsom’ [fasting of the kings], when the Ethiopian people are said to have prayed that God return Ethiopia to Ethiopians and that their king {who was on exile somewhere in England for the whole period} return home, at the time of the 5 years Italian occupation. A tribute to a prayer-answered, so to say.

It might interest you to know that what is referred to as ‘tsom’ [fasting/lent] in the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian context is eating every type of food except that which is a diary or meat product, Fish excluded, within either Wednesday or Friday or for the whole season of ‘lent’, also referred to as ‘Abiy tsom” or ‘yefasika tsom’. Ethiopians believe eating dairy product and meat would encourage the ‘flesh’ to indulge in sinful thoughts but vegetable food stuff like peas, beans, and the like doesn’t. This, ofcourse, doesn’t include those Ethiopians who are either Muslim or Protestant. They fast off food and water for whatever limit of time they want and eat what their heart desires when done. Which the Orthodox Christians do not consider a real ‘tsom’. [Fancy that! :-)]

So… after the 45 day’s ‘tsom’, and on the day when Christ was supposed to have been crucified [always on Friday, April 9 this year] most Orthodox Christians [including those who do not attend church regularly] would dress in neat white robes (what we call a ‘netela’) which is supposed to be an attire that angels wear, and go to the church close to them, without food. They worship, by kneeling down at the place of their choice within the ‘sacred’ grounds of the church {usually at a place of shade as the sun is severe}, crossing themselves all the while. And getting up and doing it all over again until they are worn out and unable to raise themselves. At which interval they’d take some breath and rest, listening to the word of God being preached, some spiritual songs by the priests and deacons, confessing their sins and thinking spiritual thoughts. This goes on from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m, straight!

At exactly 3:00 p.m., the priests [who have thus far taken refugee within the walls of the church] would come out with a leaf that’s supposed to represent, i imagine, the ones the whole town of Jerusalem took to greet Jesus with on His arrival there, in their hands and dipping the leaf in a “tsebel” {holy water} ask those struggling to get near them (and be as out of ear shot of those around as possible) what sort of sin they committed within the last year. Upon learning which, they order them to ‘mesged’ [worship] between 40-120 times [according to the severity of the "sin"] and give them absolution by sprinkling some of the “holy water” from the leaf on their face!


After that ceremony is over, everyone would go home, tired and hungry, but feeling as clean as the driven snow from his or her respective sin. On arrival home, the young ones and the ‘slack’ Christians would take a lunch of a meatless, milk-less, butter-less component and go to sleep. The strict ones, ofcourse, do not give their ‘flesh’ such freedoms. They would eat nothing but ‘qolo’ [our term for a toasted beans/peas food] and drink nothing but water for three more days until the eve of the resurrection, Saturday night, when they would go to church, spend the whole night there singing, praying and trying to remember His suffering and death.

I know it all sounds fabulous [indeed it is-for the bystander] but there isn’t much spirituality involved in it. As atleast 95% of the performers, if I can call them that, don’t really know the real significance of what Christ did on that day. I used to be taken to the same church when I were a child by my aunts, friends of aunts, daughters of aunts, for a shorter and fiercer “tsom” and knew, even then, that the girls were there because they can not be seen around town on an important time like that or to find a nice church-going boyfriend [and the deacons were always, I mean always, cute] :-). Maybe that’s when Christ [or the Orthodox Church in particular] lost me. That or when me and my young friends stole to the church’s backyard to look at the impressive tombstones and the awesome photos on them and missed out [gladly, i might add] on most of the teachings.

Anyways, the churches are ofcourse magnificent and they would look more dazzling that night, when after 3:00 a.m. and the herald of ‘He is Risen!’ is heard, everybody sort of flows out of it holding ‘tuaf’ {a burning candle sort of thing that’s made of cloth and a melting material which doesn’t go out with the wind} and singing traditional spiritual songs [about either Mary or one of the angels]. Needless to say, the streets are radiant that night [even at that ghastly hour] when people, flocking out of churches, meet on the main road with the flickering light from hundreds of ‘tuafs’ in their hands, all covered in white. It would remind one of fascinating old world phrases like “piligrims”, “nightly vigil”, “Heavenly” and dressed like that, people DO look holy :-).

When they reach their respective homes, they’d ceremoniously sit with their family (with the youngest of the house responsbile for providing & pouring water on the hands of all his elders; and the mother/wife and daughters being in charge of bringing the dishes and eatables to the table) to partake of their first ‘yefisik’ [buttered, milked, meaty} food after almost 2 months! Everyone would go to bed at the break of day and wake late in the morning! Doro wot, yebeg siga [lamb] and yebere siga {beef?} are cooked, along with difo dabo {sour dough pancake} and tela or tej [traditional alcoholic drinks] for the celebration. I’ve always told my foreigner friends that ‘Food’ is what holidays are about in Ethiopia, by which I mean that’s where all the fun lies. People usually wear new clothes or yabesha libs {traditional Ethiopian cloths} on special occasions like this, clean their houses and scatter “saar” {long stemmed grass, and sometimes the delicious smelling “tej sar” – which I love and my mom associates with ‘unholy’ tributes to God-knows who} to make their house presentable for the relatives and friends that would pay them a visit that day.. and are generally in a cheerful & hospitable mood, as Ethiopians always are or atleast meant to be when “guests” comes to their house {regardless of the debts they might have gotten themsevles into for the filling of the festive table, or what they feel about the guest :-)}.

It’s usually the same with the countryside, too, except the folks there are more in touch with their spiritual side and very religious. After all the visiting of relations, the exchanging of good wills and stuff, the more fortunate families and the young unmarried ones would take their family [or friends] to traditional restaurants, or clubs, to watch cultural dancing and to drink and feast all night long. Which is why not many come to work the day after a holiday in Ethiopia [we certainly have a day off at our office], as they’d be either too sick or too stoned too. If they do, it won’t be without a mourning head on their shoulder :).

___
Both photos were taken from Flickr.com.

 

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24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sistu  |  April 24, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Abesheet,

    My deepest, deepest thanks for that post. It made me feel all sentimental. Although i disagree with you on a host of issues on this post, it still made me feel very good to read it, so therein lies the thanks.

    My single biggest eroro in life: never went to silasSE for the eve (or any other church for that matter… but silasSE, i believe, is the [only] one that mattered. No offense, Abuye). Begged and begged as much as my pride would allow and weyke.

    95% [of the performers]? That made me cringe. I truly hope the number is not accurate. Skeptic, cynic as i am, i have great faith in people’s faith and their genuineness in practicing it (when they do practice it). I used to be a little setan whom family members [proudly, i thought] declared the little ‘pagan’. Never did any fasting of any kind and dared sar kitelun to tell me the reason behind rob-arb tsom. But now, i enjoy fasting (was blind but now am found balilishim). I thought it was something that comes naturally with age. But there is great satisfaction in it.

    Now, between yourself, myself and the few thousand who visit your zoro megbia blog, I am counting down the days to Sunday. So much so that my heart skipped a beat when i saw the [yeteserezew] April 9. yideregal? Not that i am mamarer-ing (Derishe derishe litatayign), but i have really run out of things to eat. Dabona Muz sayker (once a novelty) mereregn ahunis. Ok, besu anitala when there are bigger metayas like….

    “The deacons were always, always good looking” Kandim hulet always? I am afraid I do not see us ayn-leAyin meteyayeting after this. Now, which church have you been attending? Mariam doesn’t count, i hope you know. Nothing around Bete-kihnet does. Coz those are not really deacons in the deeyakon sense of Abo. Meaning they are people of the book, lique-deeyakons and lique-liqawints. The deeyakons I know are people of the “tuaf”, with no guaranteed reading skills. And, without meaning to sound condescending to them or you, I will not have you accuse them of [always, always] being good looking.

    To wrap up (although i really, really [because u understand the power of the doubles] dont want to) — its the new knowledge i enjoyed the most from your post.. didn’t know the reason behind the extra 15 day on the tsom, or the origins of netela (had no idea) and many other things that i do not want to list now for fear of appearing altogether mehayim.

    have you any more posts of this subject? would really love to read them.

    Yancheew,

    Mazengia as in “mazengia, gebtesh cheresh berun lizgaw?”

  • 2. abesheet  |  April 24, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Lol. Sistu.

    KetesAsatku litarem… gin… from what i observed in my brief carreer as “beTeskiyan samii” (before I hit 15 and started refusing to do all that my dad ordered me, except leave the house and spent nights outside chatting with a couple of cops being watched like a hawk by my step brother who left whenever i was told too) 95% of the Christians didn’t know why they were going to church, or who Christ was – even. They used to say “egziabher sIseQel”, and not out of any “only Jesus” tendencies. That was what i was referring to. Times may have changed, or I may have left too early.

    The cute deacons [yes, i updated it to "cute" before realizing i had a comment on it already ;-)] must have taken residence somewhere around shola and Kotebe because the St. Micheal’s church at Shola (Yeka Micheal, that is) was full-to-the-brim with them. Most reminded me of Bezabih Bogale (“FiQir Eske Meqabir” used to be “meterek” by Wogayehu Nigatu then) maybe because they went through the same thing that he did (and looked more or less what you expect a ‘melke melkam yegeter lij’ to look like). I wasn’t taken in by them, as I can never understand Kenenisa Bekele’s handsomeinet even now, because our job was of a more or less “tazabi” one (leaving the meshkormem and flirtious laughs to the ladies) but i knew when i see a guy people consider “good looking” and that was what those young men were.

    Just in case, though, I will change the title from just “fasika” to “faskia – the way i saw it”.

    How is that ;-)?.

  • 3. sira salata  |  April 24, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Thank you my Abesheet……..It is preetty nice veiw u had on Fasika
    U say something about ur ‘ Beteksian saminet at 15 ‘…..yah u remembered me something of my life….I was also a kind of ‘ Atbaki Chrstian’ in my early age. When I feel I know, though I don’t really know, just left out of the church and start mocking at the cute ‘dakons’ and dougmas…..Well now, I can’t get that personality….am flushed with mixed, a kind of ‘ I don’t know ‘ culture of the wests. But that colorfull celebration we had….the dakons, quite cute as u said, the chix wearing ‘ Kemis ‘ and ‘ Netela ‘……’Abet wubet ale Dawit melesse’….ohhh dat is completely awesome…purely spritual purely artistic. Well spritualizm is an art ha and so is religion
    haye, that culture….the ‘ Siquelet…every one having something to ‘ mesged ‘…….on friday, the preists..ordering us # of ‘ sigdets ‘…. 2, 3 (for those who look unsinfull), 77, 88,(for Kechacaha people) 10000 ( for one with a bad face( I mean sinfull face, or horor face ha ha kiddi’n). Hei u guys how much were u ordered? …..I usually was said less than 30 coz I don’t look bad…..But now, if a priest ordered me 30 ‘ sigdets ‘, I would say ”can you please add 3 zeros?”………ohhh that culture we had is really awesome……
    I also met, once, a girl at the day of ‘Kidame after sigdet’…she was u know a kind of ‘Atbaki’ wearing ‘Kemis’ but toooo beutifulll….then ‘beka’ I fall in love and u know i started ‘ jinjina ‘ ………..ohhh my god, to convince her u know…me was reading from ” orit zefitret to yohhanes raey”…wow, when I just call her I say like ” dear when are u to go to ‘silasse or giorgis” beka….mood ‘ be church hone”. She is u know a nice abesha chik….so I take my ‘ 7 tsomes ‘ of the year…..on the next ‘Sigdet’…’ beka yihen sigdet chefechefkut ‘…coz she was with me….u know I take mine hers, her family’s and even neighbours. Beka chefechefkut….’ ende enatu ‘ . That may be why I donot ‘ mesged ‘ now………….ha ha Have a nice siqlet and sigdet.

  • 4. sistu  |  April 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Abesheet,

    Ok….. Again, point taken. But you might be right about the 95% estimate. I would have gone on arguing on that point but Sira’s explanation abt why he used to mesged (very funny/entertaining to read as it was) put all my arguments to death. I guess it’s because I do not come from an akraree family that I am now harboring soft spots for akrarees (or performers). Never really celebrated amet bal the way it is celebrated else where (it was always a day of intense sira).

    A personal thing… sorry if its not appropriate here, but i always thought you were one big church person. Was I wrong?

    What’s this i hear about your leave of absence? Are (akbirot) your sira-askiaj open to abetuta? Andu tig ga wishik beeyaregush minale so that you can keep working through the ireft.

    Kenenisa… Am i just itching to ask your opinion on something there. but i am afraid that sira would skin my hide if i was to say something like that. Maybe you have an inkling abt the matter though (you and me might think alike much to my great comfort)

    Anyways Melkam Fasika (and siklet and kidame [wats the proper title for the kidame?] i am thinking kedam si’ur but i know thats not the right one). A happy Fasika to all your family. Eat to your heart’s content. mts.

  • 5. abyssinia  |  April 24, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    abesheet, once again a very capturing read. I love the way you told the story!

    sistu, your comments [including Teddy’s] are hilarious…becha tifit maletun teye!

    sira salata, I like your sense of humor…any luck with the girl after all the sigdet?

    To be honest I’d say that despite the fact that our people are deeply religious, growing up I thought the majority church goers don’t know much about the bible, God/Jesus/Mary or religion. I also thought the beliefs and dedications are keayate qidemeayatochachin yetewerese yemeslegnal. I remember ye’melekosu zemedachin simetu, I used to ask all kinds of silly questions but never got one convincing and/or credible answer. And as a kid I used to make fun of the entire story I was told. Egizihabher yekir yebelegn!

    On top of my persistent curiosity of the different religions and God, and so on…every Sunday morning I was hauled to legehar medihanialem betechristian to attend the 6:00am mass. 1. the night before we all stayed up late to watch yesamintu talaq film…enkilf baltegebe anjet! 2. I never understood what they were saying in Gieze so I thought there was no point for me to be there. 3. Mech besu yabeqal, we [as a family] had to pray every night before we go to bed. Ofcourse sometimes we had to give up tv shows if our parents decided to go to bed early. Go figure! And we [the kids] in return zipped through the prayer to go back to our tv show. What a performance, now that I don’t remember any of the prayers. I can’t even say “abatachin hoye” from the beginning to the end…for God’s sake!

    Ayee ichi balager Catholic atibelugn-ena, I have only been in two Orthodox churches, Estifanos and Silasse. But during odd hours…like on the way to school or skipping school. So, I can’t say much about deeyakons. If I knew that the deeyakons are always cute I would have dragged my a** to the Orthodox Church with a neighbor friend. lol.

    Sigdet was fun…I truly don’t remember the priest ordering the #s. However the case may be, the kids will be out playing and the adults/elderly doing the sigdet. ooooh now I know why I call for “yenate amlake or yeabate amlake” coz I haven’t done my fare share. Hummmm.

    As far as I remember, Fasika was a big celebration in my family…most of my relatives [aunts, uncles, cousins] spent together le’fasika beale. btw, we used to go to church on the Fasika morning too and then to my grandparent’s for breakfast, then my aunt’s for lunch, and dinner another house. Yemigib zemecha!

    Question? I thought Hudade or Abye Tsome is 55 days of lent fasting for Orthodox and 40 days for Catholics. I don’t know, am confused.

    Wish you all Melkam sigdet & Melkam Fasika!

  • 6. abyssinia  |  April 24, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    abesheet, thanks for displaying the comments right away. yetebareke wusanae!

  • 7. sistu  |  April 25, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    yes, thanks for displaying the comments Abesheet. We look forward to talking all about you when you are gone on your ireft. Abyssinia, I will be back with a longer post later on (am sneaking this one in) but for now (and with all due respect), here is a little something for you to mekozem over (call it a fasika sitota). I hope Abesheet will forgive me for spreading my religious propaganda in her blog (although its not my propaganda, if that helps):

    Abatachein hoy
    besemay yemitinor
    Simih yikedes
    mengistih timta
    fikadih besemay indehonech
    indeehum bemidir tihun
    yelet injerachinin zare siten (or siten zare but the zare siten makes more sense to me)
    bedelachinin yikir belen
    ignam yebedelunin yikir indeminil
    abetu wedefetena atagban
    kekifu adinen injee
    mengist yante natina
    hayil kibir misgana
    lezalalemu
    amen

    What about Imebetachin kidist dingil mariam hoy….?

  • 8. abyssinia  |  April 25, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks sistu…best Fasika gift. abesheet satemeta ye’emebetachin-in tsafilign.

  • 9. sistu  |  April 26, 2008 at 6:32 am

    You are most welcome, Abyssinia.

    Btw, i think you are right about the 55 day Tsom. I don’t know if that is including Nenewe or not though.

    “sigdet was fun” made me laugh. Mechem alfual bilesh new adel? Now that’s how i know that you were not a big segaj; nothing fun about the “strapo” that would maskemet you akomatiro on saturday (on what would otherwise have been a very productive day what with all the shir gud (in a normal house maybe)… or shir bitin, if you were in my house where “children” was a cover name for “serto aderoch and chisegnoch” and “parents” was a not-so-cover name for “balabats/chisegna/barya-asadaree”….)

    Now to be fair, i was but a wee chekla chisegna who was not burdened by the overwhelming sira that went on on those days, so my strapos were but a means of showing my kintot (kimitil that i was). The thing is, I always looked forward to sigdet all thru himamat and can hardly sleep on thursday with all my excitement for friday. But by the 600th “mi’inte mariam meharene kiristos” sigdet when my stomach starts to complain furiously, i start forgetting what it was that made that day so special or worth looking forward to.

    And well, you can imagine there can be no “big fasika celebration” in the land of chisegnoch and balabatoch but i do feel you deeply on the ‘yemigib zemecha’ (on any normal day)… there is a zemecha that the me’akelawee komite would do well to promote and eesepa should have looked deeply into (meserete timhirt kerto). But in my house on those days, we rarely ate until late in the afternoon which is when my father decides to bring in a “mukit beg” to join the family. and then you know there is the process of “beg arajun mefeleg” (the beg araj with no name, mts. beg araj indetebalu arjitew moto, nefsachewin yimarew). isachew seegegnu demo (after maby “ahun izee neberu” leads and an elongated bet-le-bet asesa [by a dedicated child bent on eating siga lefasika...aka moi]), there is the ever elusive task of finding “beela”, “no, yeSaale beela” or, failing that, “mored”, all of which (except the first) are non-existent items in the house i was born in. In my later years, the beg araj, beemerachew, started to come with ‘his’ (no disrespect) own beelawoch. by the time the beg is ready to meselat, there is always the big chance that somebody in the house (or, specifically, my father) would have decided that this particular beg should maybe kept for inkutatash.

    you might think i am exaggerating but that is only because you were not born in my house and so i forgive you for that. Come inkutatash, you know there will be no talk of mared-ing a beg who has become part of the family. Beg after beg has died of old age and natural causes in my house. In the event that the beg had not done enough to win my father’s affections on fasika (the beg might have meshnat-ed near a place where he was not supposed to, a deadly offence) and ends up slaughtered (at approximately zetegn se’at kese’at, see the symbolism?), the evening is spent on cheguara fikfeka for dulet (which half the kids did not eat) and siga mezelzeling (coz, you know, sigaw kadere yibelashal {so get on with it}, according to the said balabats). One thing i hated deeply about fasika was the day after when we did not have school. Whose bright idea was that?

    Ah, talak film… should you get me started on that? please do. Seejemir that practice (staying up to watch talak film) was deeply frowned upon by the bale-betochu. That was especially true on fasika eve when ihud is “yesira ken” and you know staying up leads to a syndrome that my parents referred to as the “haya arat se’at inkilf’ syndrome in children come morning time. So, enatiye, in the rare event that the outside antenna to that sorry excuse of a black-and-white “national” tv has been properly set so that the biz-biz on screen had disappeared to show actual images and you were maybe harboring secret fantasies of staying up late to watch the talak film (which, mts, man yawkal, could be ‘Ester’!!!! or ‘Moses’ for fasika), man benegeresh… you are setting yourself up for a heartbreak. A firm “daay, tegnu’, which you wouldn’t have disobeyed anyways firm hone alhone was my father’s modus operandi ale MT.

    ere teyign alemitu tilalech Abesheet, iwinetuan iko new.

    So let me ask you: is there sigdet in Catholic church too? I was never sure about the common things between ortho and catho. And while i am at it, nobody in their right mind would equate balagerinet with catholicinet, i don’t think. On the contrary, balagerochis bebotaw alen (along with our accompanying haymanot)

  • 10. abyssinia  |  April 28, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    lol sistu.

    Btw, enquan tsome leguamun fetalish…enquan ke’Dabona Muz gelagelsh. Hope you and [abesheet wherever you are] had a wonderful Faskia.

    Anyways, my grandparents used to tell me a lot of stories about balabat and chisegna…but this was by far the funniest story. I tried picturing you being a chekla chisegna of your balabat parents. Endet adrege! All I can picture is a little ‘kimitil’ running around ye’balabat gibi. Yesachew lij, men botat sira yemitiseraw eyetebale gorebet siawora. Beye ewnetun awchi?

    Now this definitely rings a bell. “Beg after beg has died of old age and natural causes in my house.” I remember once, a family friend brought us Fiyel for Faskia (btw, yegna betoch Beg aybelum)…and since my parents bought one already, yehe nechi Fiyel’s le’Dagmai Tensae yetared tebale. But that didn’t happened. Chirashe sime yewtalet tebalena…“shasho” part of our family hone! Years and years later he died of old age. Nefsun yemarew!

    To answer your question, there is sigdet in Catholic Church. I think the major differences are ye’kurban awesased ena be’Catholic tabot alemenor yemeslegnal.

    Beye engidih ehitachin kehedechibet eskemitimelese betun adera beyeshalhu. This is the balabat speaking..!

    Ciao

  • 11. sistu  |  April 29, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Abyssinia,

    Inquan abro aderesen. I hope you had a marvelous fasika too. Mine was betam above average… how can it not be with me eating everything in sight? i am waking up in the middle of the night to eat things just because i can.

    one thing i like about this blog is that most of the people who comment seem to have a very touching goodness of heart and you are a major example. “Yesachew lij, men botat sira yemitiseraw eyetebale gorebet siawora” alsh? Bless your sweet heart (never mind that it sounds like a case of yalebat tiblalabet). Unfortunately in our case it was “yenesu abat/inat min bewetachew sira meeserut”, “weldachu tetoru” and so on that the gorebets liked to say. love them as i may, those two were the professionally certified getoch ena emete who were the absolute best in what they did/do.

    At least you seem to consider your “shasho” a part of the family. I have nothing but intense tilacha for our own “begashaw”, who was named so out of the said tilacha. the only thing that isun-bilo-beg beg ever liked to do was leeT gilbeta, mitad sebera, alga lay chifera (with his chika legs… he would head straight to the bed if you ever tried to chase him out of any mischief that he might be currently engaged in) and, tinish seedebirew, getting sick just so that he can have you accused of subjecting him to improper care by ine you-know-who. and, unlike you, i don’t have any “nefsun yimarew” blessings for him either. May he roast in hell where the fires have good magedo. and just think, he was only a prototype of the many like him who had graced our household from one ametbal on to years to come.

    Thanks for the kurban awesased info. I thought as much but am still not sure about exactly what is different about it. i know in ortho church it is a big deal to take kurban and that you prepare for it before hand neger. I know my mother [only a couple of years ago] has bekunticha masabed me when i got up to take kurban when the priest called out neger. Yet, I still don’t know what goes on with that. Any info abt the differences?

    I know… Abesheet Tilan hedech iko. I know she was telling us but who knew she was actually going to go through with it. ay yebada neger.

  • 12. abyssinia  |  April 29, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Aydel sistu!

    This blog is so different coz we got to share our personal experiences and in the process became close to the people we blog with (btw, I feel the same about your goodness). For me, some of the stories that I shared here were things that I haven’t thought about for ages. And I’m grateful that I found this panel to spill what’s been buried in my guts for years, so to speak.

    With that been said, abesheet metta adis topic eskeminigemir, I guess we need to keep this place alive with our religion/church discussion…so where were we?

    Yes, kurban awesased be’Catholic yemileyew: 1. there is no infant communion 2. the child must have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so as to understand the mystery of Christ, the bible, confession, etc. 3. to be eligible to receive kurban, around the age of 7 the child must attend parish programme to be prepared for his/her first holy communion…programmes vary from church to church (mine was 2 months). Here most preparations programmes are approx 6 – 12 months.

    First Holy Communion is traditionally a festive occasion for graduates and families. Those who receive this sacrament usually dress in White cloth to the ceremony that reflects the true significance of this holy event.

    Keza behuala, this person is eligible to receive kurban for life malet new…but must have confessions before hand.

    Hope it make sense.

  • 13. sistu  |  April 29, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    who knew Catholicism was so global. I read about First Communion in a book called Angela’s ashes but it never occurred to me that the same thing would be true in the Ethiopian Catholicism. So you are telling me you get to do “collection” too on your First Communion? uhhhhmm, but do tell. Every day, I discover more of the hatyat that has been committed by Getoch and Emete. Catholic argew indayweldun istee ahun. They probably thought we would take off with our First Communion money. We probably would have. And what sort of things do you do for the 2 months during the preparation programme for communion? is there any room for mawdeldel-ing?

    And are there factions within Catholicism? anything like us coptics and them ortho-s? I recently discovered that we were “inezee copts” (short for coptic… i think the full name yangeshegishachewal) to eastern orthodox church ppl. I don’t even know if ethio church falls under the coptic ikif. i am actually trying to read up on it (on wiki of course) … not really getting past the first paragraphs but it seems to say that we are only friends with the coptic church and not really part of it and definitely not friends with the eastern ortho church which has mekeyayem-ed with the coptic church. So my “enemy’s friend…” honobachew new meselegne, their wikabE doesn’t like us.

    Now I know there is Tsebel there (Catholic), am I right? The thing you dab your face with when you enter and leave the church, thats Tsebel, right? Now, the more important question: do you also have Tsebel merechet by Qes at [beselam betekemetshibet] betish?

    Abesheet, I don’t know. Bado bet keftalin iko new yehedechiw. I don’t know about you but i can never be trusted with bet-nibret. I know back in the days, ine Intina used to say that if it was left up to me, i would have the house robbed while i am off playing my kumar. What kumar, i dont know. Maybe its the ‘dama’ that inat-alem herself taught me and i in turn taught to a cousin but i wasn’t informed that it would fall under the ‘kumar’ description. Its not like it was ‘biy’

  • 14. sistu  |  April 29, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    funny, i just saw the “abesheet satmeta” line… I read it as “sitmeta” the first time around and was dying tekunetniche until abesheet got back so that i could write it to you. Well, here goes. (But wird kerase if she decides to kick me out of her blog bemetregia angorada for what i am doing to her comments section)…let it be Yedag-may Tinsae sitota (sitota lemedsh gin)

    imebetachin kidist dingil mariam hoy
    bemelaku bekidus gebriel selamta selam ilishalehu
    behasabish dingil nesh
    besigashim dingil nesh
    yashenafee yegziabher inat hoy
    selamta lanchee yigebashal
    kesetoch hula teleyitesh
    anchee yetebareksh nesh
    yemahtsenish firE yetebareke new
    tsegan yetemolash hoy
    des yibelish
    ketewededew lijish
    kegetachin, kemedhaneetachin
    keyesus kirstos
    yikirtan lemignilin
    hatiyatachinin yasteseriyilin zend
    lezalalemu amen
    (hope i didn’t forget some lines)

  • 15. abesheet  |  April 30, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Hi girls,

    As long as wordpress allowed you, feel free to do whatever you will with the comment section (and the ‘bet nebret’). Just don’t swap e-mail addresses, is all :-). Won’t wanna come back to an empty house now, do i?

    Beterefe… Ewedachualehu and have a wonderful week.

  • 16. sira salata  |  April 30, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Hei Girls,

    Sistu and Abyssinia ‘ yemecherasha Ategebugn eko!!!!! Temechachihugn beka, like u girls!!
    heyo, I was really enjoying ur discussion………
    Sistu, U were talking of Kumar…….ohhh my god…….If u are to have some kumar play….Hei don’t forget Sira Salata is here to play it……..ye duriye kumar….ohh I can’t wait to have it soon
    ladies continue ur discussions…am loving it

  • 17. sira salata  |  April 30, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    I havenot been praying for times ‘Abatachin hoye’. even I forgot the words, I think. But when I just see it wriiten here….ohh… I read it, so loudly, twice……..Beka kezih behuala heaven’n manim ayikelekilegnim……….enate timut, yeresahutin Abatachin hoye eko astawesachihugn..Yimechachihu

  • 18. abyssinia  |  April 30, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Weye gude sistu, room for mawdeldel alshe. Min meheja alen bileshe new. Once all kids are in the compound, the main gate will be locked. Zebegna will only let Qesoch and Sorawoch in and out of the premises. I guess the church kinda take responsibility for the 40-50 kids during this programme…btw, this happens only once a year be’kiremt when schools are closed…full time 5 days a week. We learn the bible, tselot, mezmur, confession and so on. It was very intense compared to how they do it here, once a week a couple of hours for 6-12 months. You know my nephew took his video games whenever he goes to attend his parish programme here…for real! Begna gize video game yele, cell phone yele-temaru temerameru bicha!

    There was no first communion collection back then… abet lij-ena birr tegenagnto yemifeterw aytawekim belew new mechame. As far as factions, to be honest I have no knowledge on this issue. Esti I will do some research on this. You know one thing about Catholics tho, aytew alayenim semtew alesemanim malet yewedalu. When The Da Vinci Code came out and I bought the book, my families were questioning why I even bothered to know anything about it…paranoia on their part I guess.

    You are right, Tsebel be’Catholic-em ale. Endalshiw it’s available for memenan to dab their face when entering and/or leaving the church. I never saw Catholic Qes Tsebel sew lay merechet…but once a year Qes meto betishin yerechal. I don’t know if this was requested or not. I lived in a highly Catholics populated area so we all used to get a visit at once. Let’s say if Ato Kebede bet Qes stop by kaderege, they call you to let you know that the Qes is visiting the area. The thing is, the Qes will only walk around the rooms and Tsebel merechet…and walk out be’metabet igru.

    sistuye, ye’imebetachin-in tselot astaweseshe bemtsafish betam ameseginalehu. Imebetachin esua tibarkish!

    Sira salata, kumar titeh tselotu lay tenqir new ene yemlew. I’m glad your are enjoying this too.

    abesheet, thank you for stopping by [begeza betish]…we miss you. Esti yehone neger tal argilin.

  • 19. sistish  |  May 2, 2008 at 9:50 am

    ere techawetu,
    I figured that if sata can change his name to salata*, sistu can get away with changing hers to sistish, especially since none of you seem to be intending to makolamet me and lift my name to that level any time soon. rasen berase afen bemilase… (*not to be confused with selata, the worst food in the planet [hudade hasn't been over for a week yet.. so i find it hard to appreciate non-siga foods during this time...i will go back to appreciating ine gomen when the meat is all gone from the household]).

    Speaking of meat, Abesheet betishin iko awedemnew without a tekotataree, ere andande kintibtabee neger werweerilin by way of werey. glad you dropped by anyways. But i feel obligated to tell you that tinish kekoyesh bezee guest status, we intend to mewres these pages. irsha larashu, blog lebloggeru.

    Abiye, there is always room to mawdeldel anywhere if you really put your mind to it. kelib kalekesu… ask sira if you dont believe me. but i feel you about the cell phone. really feel you. Earth yetebelashechiw was when cell phone was invented, global warming minamin yemeelut, i dont buy it.

    Now, the Qes. Sorry i failed to introduce you in the earlier post. Memire Alemu yibalalu, and Memire Alemu knows no such things as “bet bicha merchet”. I think a good half (or three fourths) of yesachew fun in kisina is in mercheting Tsebel on unsuspecting, sleepy boys and girls (who have just been mekeskes-ed unceremoniously on account of Memire’s presence in the house [at asira hulet seat kelelitu maybe]…) or, if you are up and about, hearing that special “chua” sound when the tsebel gets your face at a perfect 90 degree angle (ie like tifee coming right on your nose or ginbar).

    As for “bemetubet igrachew memeles”… the injera doesn’t eat itself unfortunately. (the dishes dont wash themselves til neber my mother… bamarigna,that is. and it had the intended effect of making you want never to eat food again just so that the dishes would not need to be washed ever again). but isachew bemetubet igrachew ketemelesuma who is supposed to eat the amet bal migib? surely not the deekals [who, by the way, are the ones who always make it]? but in later days, appetitachew tezega meselegn, he was not big on the food. or maybe we started making the food taste not so good to have it spared for us only, man yawkal. this is not me mesafet-ing with the role of Qesoch.

    Sira, what can i say? I really advise you to repeat that prayer as many times as the number of mesmers on the inside of your ten fingers (in a day or before every meal, whichever is more). i have this feeling that there is an akabee hig in heaven who does nothing all day but sit around and look down at you mirakun iyewate at the prospect of your arrival in his court. gin i still like your manim aykelekilegnim shilela though. and maybe you can matalel him with some duriye kumar, which you should really tell us more about, by the way. wendim lemeche new? Should i also introduce you with Memire? there is a very small, but possible chance that memire might be a man of the world with some kumar chilotas, so bizu laydebirih yichilal in confession. just avoid calling it yeduriye kumar. By the way, do Niseha abats really entertain Niseha? I just can’t picture my parents menazez-ing their sins to Memire (injee Memire wouldn’t have kept quiet about those sins). In fact, i know it has never happened. So why “niseha abat”? Abys, would love to read your input about confessions and Catholic niseha abats. also, tela yitetalu (yifekedal)?

  • 20. sistish  |  May 2, 2008 at 9:51 am

    there is that smiley face again.. i didn’t put it there, please know.

  • 21. abyssinia  |  May 2, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Menew you didn’t like my maqolamet? OR sistu-ye is not considered meqolamet? (on my previous post!)

    Anyways sis, that’s how my brothers talk to me as I am the only girl…so you know that your nick MEANS a lot to me.

    Eko! lemin ye’niseha abat yasfeligal if the family not going to menazez to this Qes aydel? Well, be’Catholic niseha abat yelem and I personally never knew to which Qes I confessed to coz it’s been done closed door. To my knowledge there was no family to Qes relationship in any case other than blood relations. My mom’s cousin is Qes and don’t remember him coming to our home after Qesina. We saw him at the Cathedral Church where he lived(s) or if he came to Medihanialem for special occasion. btw, you know all Qesoch live at their own designated church. So no chance to go to tela bet!

    Tadia egna bet simetuma, Qitachew meche teqemto yawqina let alone drink tela. Who knows it may be a SIN even to offer a glass of ‘tela’. Qes sew bet meto migib meblat?

    Memire Alemu gin min nekachew…megibachiun tirig argew beltew demo tsebel betegnachihubet yemirchut. Egzihabeher yekir yebelachew! leza yehonal appetitachew mezegat in later days. Aydel sistish?

    OMG with all this Qes mebochachek talk, soon I need to go for my long overdue confession. Ahun yehe min tebilo confess yederegal? When we were kids, our three very common confessions were, not telling the truth, stealing, falsely swearing by the name of the god. Lemin endehone alawkim Egzihabeher-ne malet behonew balhonew! Beka yesu sim kaltetera ewnet yetenagerin aymeslenim neber, ayee lijinet!

  • 22. sira salata  |  May 2, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Ha ha ha Sistish….the Akabe hig neger… mirakun eyewate…hu huu that is funny….
    Have u really thought of a kind of a court there when we die?….That akabe hig eyetengoradede….listing all my sins, ohhhh my god, still mirakun eyewate, gin gin sistish bicha endayankew? My sin lije kelal yasgomejal ende…lik ende fasika doro….
    If there is a court…ahh it is difficult…guess they are recording our sins now, then they will list them down one by one. Who could be free….even Memire. Ale adel, fair kaltehonelin…le endene aynetu…ende, sistish eski asibiw.. if they are to count all laws, then surely they will build another hell for me….enji kene memiru gar engnam togather in the same hell….ayaregutim (Gude fella afkari memiru ale ende???).
    Sometimes I remember what memirus teach us….
    This happens when I was a kid, our memiru were in our house…for the mercheting,(+ for some money from Dad + for the deliceous food mam prepares for him…..ohhh kelala miraken ewit neber ende)
    Keza tseloting yijemeral…be memiru….long tselot….at the start it seems that it won’t end. Then our Arif serategna yanin migib keguada hona kefet sitaregew…the nice smell in the Salon…ohhh memiru yane yinekalu….” ke hatiyat yetefetachihu hunu. ”
    After the meal…Timiru started…No wengel…No mathios no poulos, Petros no Zeberga….Bicha yehone tarik mengering…In the middle ” weyewilish weyewilish 8tegnaw shih mrtolishal WEyewilish uhhhh!!!! ” Mom, yane beka start to frustrate ” Abetu yikir belegn ” takeltewalech.
    One day our memiru was teaching me and my sis a classic lesson about Kiristos Semra, She was intending to mediate between GOD and DEVIL( DEYABILOS) then she first beg God to excuse DEYABILOS, GOD says ” if he, DEYABILOS, wants to have peace with me, I don’t have a problem ”. She then go to DEYABILOS, to hell …She sought for him, He was not zere( may be he had a date)….She sought and sought…then she start to call him…like makolameting….” DABE… DABE…E.. EE where are u ” When memiru says this my sister burst in to lough…then she says ahhh ” Ende Kirstos semira ARIF neberech, yezane ARADA”.
    But I say Memiru was ARADA

  • 23. back to "sistu"  |  May 3, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Abyeeee…libe tefto, i didn’t notice it. “cheguara bicha” ale fernja. Its Kulmicha and a half (literally), thank you. An only girl?mts. or is that a good thing? after you mentioned how names have a special meaning, i have come to agree with you deeply. sistu leka has a huge meaning in my life. I didn’t even think about it when i first used it (which was here)until you said that.

    Sira, you really captured the feelings surrounding Memire’s excruciatingly long tselot that makes your legs threaten to fall off from the sheer dikam of standing still, ket bilo (in a wetaderawee pose, if the mothers had their way) through all that sibhat le’ab wemenfes kidus. Abet how i would kill to medegef a wenber halfway through it but the said mother would send me straight to hell with the sheer power of her gilmicha and yeAyn zacha. And what about that business of having to pay attention to a ge’ez prayer and knowing when to say ‘amen’ and ‘mts’? As much as i admire people who go to church, i have never met anyone who is genuinely mesab-ed by Memire’s prayers during house calls. Temesiten inakalen mitilu kalachu ijachun awtu (among the three of you?)

    meegermew, the only person within a mile who was not required to put on the pretence of being completely memeseT-ed by Memire’s kidase was memire rasachew who would always, yaleAnd exception, look bored to death by the prayers…. Memire ande tarawin, ande gidgidawin seeyayu, ande staring openly at a new item in the house (narrowing his eyes to clearly identify its whatabouts and all), indemayalk yelem prayer comes to an end. On to Tsebel, which would be fresh out of the bwanbwa (before i am given the pleasure of megetering through the menebanibs, i get to bring wiha keBwanbwa for my household’s Tsebalawee consumptions later) and the wiha jog would be placed next to the what, Aby??… That’s right…the TELA.

    You mean to tell me yeCatholic Qeses don’t have access to tela? That’s a hatyat by the church isn’t it? And, btw, what are yahula yesefer balemuya supposed to do with their time if Memire has to turn to tela bet for his tela needs? gud bel gonder new. By the way, sira, my father ‘genzeb qes [and lij, of course] yabelashal’ bay new, so too bad for Memire Alemu.

    And before we carry on with the mobachachek-ing of ineMemire, i should mention that Memire Alemu is a real person. So if one yesefer sew happens to stumble on to this blog, I have no doubt that i will just have to move to one of your sefer’s. Our sefer is very anti-bandawoch and anti-Tsere-Hizboch who would drag Memire Alemu’s respectable name through the guada godguada-s of wordpress. But as I was reading your comments, i was actually thinking that Memire wouldn’t really be unhappy with me for bringing [his] name to iwkina. Might even bless me. Yiftugn.

    Kirstos Samra/Samra Kirstos!!!… my favorite story ever (by way of my brother). Didn’t she have her legs cut off in the end? Does anybody know/remember those religious magazines like Hammer (Amharic)? They had some great stories.

  • 24. Annoncodo  |  October 1, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    I just went to take some money! :)

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