Rekindling Goodness in the Spirit of New Year

With everything that has happened and with all that is going on around the world, it is hard to believe that a year has already passed since we last heard the usual enkwan aderessatchew songs on the radio and saw herds of sheep flocking to the city.

Though this year’s celebrations are still a little far away, I can already feel the hustle; the running around to get the best ketema (cut grasses) or prime kirtcha (oxen meat sold in parts). I can even hear the customary New Year’s celebration songs, both on the Radio and Television; lest we forget that beautiful yellow flower, our very own Adey Abeba (Yellow Biden), blooming to give us hope again, marking a new beginning.

The Adey Abeba got me thinking about what life is about and what in truth really matters. Of course, during the festivities we hear of families and/or family members reconciling and the rekindling of perished relationships. This on top of all the New Year’s promotional discounts and offers. It made me wonder if there wasn’t something we could learn from this flower that takes months to bloom, which has to wait to take in rain for a long period of time to come out in its victorious beauty (without drowning).

What has always captured my attention is how this flower never goes unnoticed because it is never one, but thousands that bloom at once – a land filled with yellow beauties – as if they had been harvested. All of a sudden, houses become an extension of the fields of grass and welcome the New Year with spots of this yellow flower on the floor of common rooms, as they enjoy ceremonial coffee, along with grasses and sedges. The reason that I think it is primordial to mention the important symbolism of this flower is because of its capacity to mark the beginning after an ending.

As one nation, we have been witnesses to wars and instabilities all over the World and nearer to home for several decades. That being said, we are known as a country with more than eighty ethnic groups, with Muslims, Christians and other religious groups, and over ninety million people, able to cohabit peacefully. Isn’t this exactly what this Yellow Biden (only from Ethiopia) represents – love, peace and hope?

Long after the wars were done, we still pride ourselves as Africa’s only uncolonised land and I ask myself to what end? Though knowing where we come from is essential, is it not even more important to know where we are going? We pride ourselves in being the most elder respecting, hospitable and loving people, and yet we are seeing all of these cherished values less and less as time goes by. Craving change and bringing it about is a natural process that should be encouraged, but shouldn’t whatever change we intend to bring focus on building rather than destroying?

Eight years through and moving into the ninth year of the second Ethiopian millennia, here we are facing a reality that none of us would have thought to imagine. Should this entry mark the start of a beautiful bloom? How that would come about, I believe, is for each of us to examine within our capacities. Though the usual New Year speech is redundant and tiring, it is not so bad in this moment to contemplate being good to one another in order to see eye to eye – even in the most difficult of times. Shouldn’t the mutual respect and understanding that has been shared so far be given a chance to continue? Just as the soil provided space to the seed for as long as needs be; just as the rain understood to nourish it tirelessly; just as the sun gave it life to grow in its own time; just as time allowed it to bloom among the accompanying grasses – do each of us grant one another the space and time necessary?

In most parts of the world, it is common to have New Year’s resolutions – things to do, things to stop doing, things to change and the list goes on. It made me wonder if the Yellow Biden isn’t a reminder of our past promises; a marker of the time that has lapsed without us noticing, while we ran after this world’s most insignificant goals. A gentle sign from the Universe telling us that we too shall bloom like this flower in hope, with love, for peace. This is, of course, no lesson on the various types of Bidens our country boasts, but to examine our past year and see if we can have resolutions of our own – promises to ourselves. Easier said than done, I must admit, but when will we start, if not with the blooming flower of Bega (Summer in Ethiopia, which starts in September)? May you all bloom to be the Adey Abeba you each deserve to be.

By Christine Yohannes
Christine Yohannes writes about social change, performs at public events and conducts poetry workshops in schools. She has established a monthly event entitled “poetic saturdays” - a platform created to allow everyone the freedom of self-expression through art. She can be contacted at poeticsaturdays@gmail.Com

Published on Sep 13,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 854]



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