Back to Front Page

Enkutatash!! New Year: New hope to the youth

Enkutatash!! New Year: New hope to the youth

Fekadu Wubete 09-05-17

New Year’s Day (in Amharic Enkutatash) is a season of hope, brightness and festivity. It is dearly needed and best cherished time on which home sick individuals crave to reunite with their friends and relatives. The following famous song and folk lore of Ethiopians best depicts the turning up of New Year.

መስከረም ሲጠባ አደይ ሲፈነዳ፣

እንኳን ሰው ዘመዱን ይጠይቃል ባዳ፡፡


Every one vists parents, even strangers,

              With the blooming of daisies and arrival of September.

 (Translation mine)

The origins of the Enkutatash tradition, as historians site it, is Biblical as the Queen of Sheba (known by different names including Makeda and Azeb) came back from her visit to the wisest King of  Israel, King Solomon. The elders welcomed her and offered her Jewels known as “enku”. Hence,”Enkutatash” in Amharic means “gift of jewels” to alleviate your problems.

Ever since, Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash) is being celebrated in the season of spring when the month of September turns up. September, hence, is the month which heralds transition from the old to the new and it ushers in glittering hopes and brighter future.

I, the writer, is nostalgic of September and its mesmerizing scenery in the country side. I still cherish the riveting bloom I used to enjoy when I was herding my sheep. September was the time when I and my friends eat various species of wild berries and edibles available in the bush. I witness the products of best perfumeries in Paris cannot come anywhere near the delectable scent of wild flowers as perfumers themselves are trying to imitate the smell of wild flowers.

Amazingly, Enkutatash is an important festival of new hope for all Ethiopians alike, be it Orthodox, Muslim, Catholic or pagan. It symbolizes the advent of good harvest and fine weather, following the deluge and downpour in the rainy season. After months of torrential rain, the month of September felicitates clear skies, verdant meadows and profuse greenery and flora, lush grass and fresh air; the highlands are all cloaked in green carpet of lily, daisy and varieties of wild roses.

Mean while, Henok and Abrham are fraternal twins who are expecting to join universities soon after the celebration of New Year. Abrham has scored 520 while Henok achieved 535.They said their life and routine activities are well-rhythmic to one another like the shifting of day and night.

They said they have been schooled in Shimeles Habte Secondary Scool. They have been travelling to and from school together and everybody knows that their fraternity is so tightly-woven that no one sees either of them alone. Most importantly, both have thoroughly harmonized their schedule of doing home work and assignments. So far, their being time-conscious and planned way of performance has enabled them to outshine their friends in every aspect of scholastic performance.

One is encouraging the other and no one is ever lagging behind. Their class mates know that they are known for their top achievement, tireless effort and ethical behaviors. Their teachers witnessed that both used to study hard in the school library and had been quick to finalize extra-curricular activities ordered by teachers.

Their mother Woizero Aster said she has been lucky to be endowed with obedient and compassionate twins like hers. She said villagers know that Aster’s sons are very much submissive and down to earth to all people. Besides, she said she has been lone mother as their father passed away when they were five. She has been paying indescribable sacrifice to take care of them and pay all the money needed to their schooling.

She reminisced it seems the angels have heralded her in the new year as the new year has sparked new glimmer of hope since the minute she heard the commendable ESLCE results of her sons. She lauded God for helping her until now. She could not imagine what she would be today were her sons had failed their exams. She imagined lots of worrisome things and ensuing ordeal that may afflict her were her sons had become unsuccessful. She sometimes used to imagine evil things her sons becoming despondent and outcast for they failed their exam. They have been brought up through untold misery. Hence forth, how could she bear more burden were they not promoted? Unthinkable for her.

Now she is light hearted. She is jumping in glee and could hear her heart thumping with ecstasy. According to her, the first day of her happiness has come when she heard their score. Since then, the villagers are promising to help her sons and dole out every single coin that may contribute to their education in university.

Ato Teklu, the neighbor of Aster, had witnessed that Aster’s sons are talk of the village. She had brought them up single handedly. Everybody in the village knows that no one is as patient and invictus as Aster for she has been rearing her kids without enough income to cover their needs.

To the surprise of Ato Teklu, her sons have been good-mannered and top scoring students far better than their students known to come from rich families in the neighborhood. Even worse, some sons from high-income families had failed in every aspect of their life. They smoke, chew and go binge drinking. We understand God has worked miracles when He helped Aster’s sons to grow up and successfully join universities.

Unfortunately, Bedilu Haile-Mariam and his friends had not been successful in their ESLCE results. He said he and his friends have tried to achieve good results. However, luck was not with them. They failed to gain pass marks and join higher education institutions.  Life has to go on anyways, he said. He and his friends have discussed how to reroute the path of their lives, a far cry from routine performance. They have opted to do their own business and stick to their activities in the New Year; dreaming of studying at night and doing business by day.

According to Bedilu, his family members have been disappointed by his plummeting achievement. Nevertheless, they are convinced that life has many ups and downs and this time is not the last chance of Bedilu to become successful in life. Bedilu is a young boy and he has a lot of time and opportunity to try his hands on many businesses. Now then, they are thinking of educating Bedilu in extension programs.

However, Bedilu said he and his colleagues are thinking of continuing their education by night and doing business by day. To this end, their parents had contributed 30,000 Birr each to help them start some business. He said he and his friends had rented a small house in Kolfe-Keranyo, in the outskirts of south west Addis Ababa, conducive to start chicken farming.

Currently, they said they are reading booklets and guide books used to run poultry business. They are enthusiastic enough to start their business as soon as they finished their two-week courses about running chicken farming. We have to study first they said as poultry farming needs its own precaution, be it feeding, cleaning and handling chicken produce.

The New Year is also a time of brightness and hopefulness for students who had been away from school for two months, due to the insurmountable rainy season and closure of schools for big recess. Students yearn their school compounds, class mates and their teachers. They cannot wait to see each other and discuss what they encountered in the rainy season. Even, 12fth graders are more anxious than other students for they do not know their grades and what will come to them with the New Year as grade results are publicized round the end of August every year. What so ever, the New Year is the time on which students promise to score high grades and do their best at school.

However, despite the advent of celebration and festive mood, September is the month on which most families become tense with loads of expense; many kinds of holiday expenses become headaches to many families. It includes expenses for registration fee, purchase of uniforms and exercise books to students. However, families do not consider their expanse as exorbitant due to parental assumption of born to please kids.

In the contrary, children are unaware of the burden of their family except prodding them to buy new clothes and other items in the New Year. Perhaps, immaturity to understand the soaring cost of living, innocent competition with the possession of their friends and being cocooned in the love of parents have blurred their mental picture to forget about the burdens of taking care of a family.

The youth are known for their vigor and passion (Wotat Yenebir Tat- says the Amharic proverb to denote nimbleness of the youth and its ability to accomplish missions as quickly as possible).And the new year is considered to replenish individuals with new hope and energy used to work hard and achieve many things. Hence, the youth are expected to strive more to achieve their goal of growth and building better personality. To this end, nation will move heaven and earth to help its youth achieve its goals and become part of the national development endeavor.

Currently, thousands of youth like Abraham and Henok are striving to win best results in different aspects of life including education and entrepreneurship. In this regard, nation is forwarding its calls to the all citizens, particularly the youth to gird its loins tightly and keep on its effort and help alleviate poverty.


Back to Front Page