On this day that our Tigray brothers and sister celebrate Ashenda to mark the end of the Filseta fasting period, we wish all Ethiopians a joyful remembrance of Dengel Mariam’s dormition and ascension to heaven. Ashenda is a celebration of life after death, a reminder that all toil does not end with tribulation. The event is marked by girls and women wearing a beautiful array of colorful bahalawi kemis and gathering together to dance and sing for three days as they collect gifts from friends and strangers alike.

Meaning “tall grass” in Tigrinya, the festival is kicked off by harvesting tall blades of grass and then strewing it on the floor of homes and shops as a makeshift welcome mat. This same holiday is recognized and celebrated in different regions of Ethiopia. Within the Amhara community, it is called Sheday, within the town of Adigrat, it is called Mariya. The connective tissue among all regions that take part in this jubilation is the homage that is paid to Mariam.

Though Ashenda is mostly celebrated by the Tigray community and the Northern regions of Ethiopia, all Ethiopians should join in this festive occasion. After all, all Orthodox Christians took part in the Filseta fast and Christians as a whole honor and pay tribute to the mother of Eyesus Christos. Muslims likewise hold Dengel Mariam in an exalted place as she is the only woman named in the Quran.

Irrespective of our religious, political or ideological differences, the struggles of our neighbors should be our struggles and the joys of our fellow Ethiopians should be our joys. May this season of mirth be one where we remember our connection as a people. Let the spirit of Mariam grow in our hearts: to give as we are given, to endure hardships with God’s grace in our hearts and to be love at all times, these are the tenants of faith that should guide us as Ethiopians.

The video below is posted in honor of Ashenda, let us rejoice in similarities as we embrace our unique customs and cultures that are Ethiopia’s greatest treasure. Let us not turn our source of strength into a weakness by bickering over who is better and instead work together to make our country better.

May Igziabeher forever keep #Ethiopia and may He bless all our people. May #ashenda be at our feet and desta fill our hearts. Click To Tweet