Posts tagged ‘Valentine’s day in different culture’

Why we don’t have a “Qidus ValenT’inos”

Valentine’s Day is one of those days that gives me the “ickys”. It’s not [just] because I do not see it as an Ethiopian holiday. Or because I am a cynic who hears “deceit” every time the word “love” is mentioned (yes, if you scratch me you’ll find a hopeless dreamer who had her head hanked out of the clouds by cruel men and God). Or because it feels more showy than seeing a “Qen’tegna” brother walking with a huge parcel on Christmas morning. But because it is done for the same reason engagement rings are being worn in Ethiopian nowadays, “lelaw yaderegew ayiQribegn” bemalet.

Surafel Wondimu, of “Seifu YeMastaweQiya Derejit”, is one of those people who wouldn’t suffer from the “icky” feeling come February 14. In response to his audience asking why he kept bothering them with a concept that isn’t “ager BeQel”, he explained how he isn’t calling the Holy Man’s name because the ferenjis are calling it. But because it’s his firm belief lovers deserve to have one day, out of 365, in which they can celebrate their good fortune. He tried to elaborate this by giving an example. “I have a friend” he said “who is preparing to ask his girlfriend ‘taGebignalesh?’ the day after tomorrow..”.

I cringed at this. [As I do every time a DJ-something disgraced us with his presence on one of the FMs. When I hear Birhanu Digaffe, of Degaffe Mastaweqiya Dirjit, read an English letter from his various Ethiopian fans on an Amharic program which supposedly attempts to help College-youth swap their experiences. And every time my late-to-the-coming-Rastafarian neighbour plays Bob Marley in a way that makes you wonder if “those crazy Baldheads” that need a chasing out of town live anywhere near].

An Ethiopian guy “popping the question” feels as detached from [Ethiopian] reality as the behaviors the above media people are trying to cultivate in the youth. Where I come from, when a girl and a guy are dating, it’s “understood” where they intend (or atleast are pretending) for it to go. Dating is not, and has a long way to go before being, what it is in the west: where you try people, like an outfit, until you make up your mind about which one fits best. It is a subtle agreement, with consequences. She is expecting to one day be wed. And brother-man is playing along.

These expectations are displayed in her attempts to take over and be incharge of his house: The hiring and firing of the maid servant. (more…)

February 13, 2009 at 11:21 am 11 comments


The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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