Fichee Chambalala celebration underway in Awassa

Flags of Oromo Liberation Front and Oromo Democratic Front are observed at the Chambalala cultural festival of ethnic Sidamas

Chembelala _ Sidama
Sidama cultural features at Chembelala. Photo : FBC

May 30, 2019

Ethnic Sidama New year celebration, Fichee Chambalala , is underway in Awassa, sort of Ethiopia’s resort city and one of the major tourist attractions in the country, and also the seat of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region’s administration. 

No fixed date for celebration; for example, two years ago it was celebrated towards late June.  Day for the celebration of is determined after Sidama elders with knowledge of Sidama tradition astronomy delve calculation of stars.  

The festival features key cultural aspects of ethnic Sidamas whose number is said to be in the neighborhood of three million. 

In recent years, Sidamas have been struggling to have an ethnic Sidama regional state, as in the political tradition of the existing ethnic-based Federation, and the new prime minister has pledged them that it is their constitutional right – a sort of approval for a referendum which has not happened yet. 

UNESCO has registered Chambalala on Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2015. 

The festival is two days long. The first day of the celebration featured street carnival in the city and various shows. 

People from areas close to Awassa have come to the city for the celebration, according to a report by Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. Residents of Hawassa and government officials have accorded warm reception to people who come to celebrate the ethnic Sidama’s New Year.

As well, a picture shared by Fana Broadcasting Corporation shows a group of young girls lining upholding Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) flags, with slogans written in scripts, joining the celebration. 

Chembelala _ Oromo ladies
Girls with OLF and ODF flags marching for Chembelala festival in Awassa. Photo credit : FANA

In terms of security arrangement, relevant government bodies have made preparation for peaceful celebration and Awassa’s Mayor Sukare Shuda have called on residents of the city to treat people who came from neighboring regions with an Ethiopian etiquette. 

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