YOD Abyssinia Cultural Restaurant, Ethiopia’s ‘Cultural Ambassador’, in collaboration with the Bete Gurague Cultural Center, showcased the entire setup of the cultural practices as genuinely celebrated in the Gurague rural areas in the most exotic festivity. Meskel is a religious and joyful annual social occasion that Christians throughout the country look forward to each year and is celebrated with feasting, lighting a massive bonfire and other cultural activities across the nation.
Thinking of Meskel celebration, the various Gurague ethnic groups are known for their annual festivals that run for a period of a week. All natives travel to their hometown to commemorate the event with families and relatives in great enthusiasm looking forward for the colorful cultural celebrations.
However, with recent difficult life styles, economical and other reasons, native are unable to do their annual rituals traveling to their hometowns and be part of the holiday. Last year, YOD Abyssinia Cultural Restaurant, Ethiopia’s ‘Cultural Ambassador’, came up with the idea of promoting this rich culture and at the same time celebrating Meskel in Addis just the way it is celebrated back in the Gurague native land. In the one day event, people that didn’t have a chance to go to their hometown would get a chance of experiencing the huge festivities that take a week back in the hometowns.
The ‘Cultural Ambassador’ spent weeks in preparation to exhibit every detailed cultural activity in the most distinctive cultural way. And on Sunday, the 25th of September, as usual YOD Abyssinia premise was full to its capacity with invited government officials, Gurague elders, guests, media representatives eager to witness the long waited event.
The event started by exhibition of handmade Gurague cultural cooking and dinning appliances, artifacts along with various cuisines especially prepared for the holiday, well accompanied by a description from the elegantly dressed YOD Abyssinia staff, a native Gurague herself, at Rohobot Cultural Hall.
Live music performance by prominent artists that represent all the Gurague ethnic groups like Mewded Kebru, Menalush Reta, Hailu Fereja, Demisse Teka, Yetagesu Melesie, Feleke Maru, Girma Abate, Jemal Sulngo, Desalege Mersha and others lively songs and dances gave a true glimpse of the superlative Gurague culture.
The cultural cuisines and drinks especially prepared for the holiday that includes various kinds of ‘kitfo’ were served to the full satisfaction of attendants. Following, the gatherings collectively went outdoor for an interesting part of the event, the blessing of the Gurague elders and slaughtering of an ox, followed by catering of raw meat with homemade butter.
The feast and dancing went on and on, and at last the "damera" was torched that lighted up the night sky as the torchbearers chant circling the “damera”.
Ato Endalkachew from Zami communication commented ‘. . . it is so beautiful, I’m proud of YOD!”.
The millennium generation ambassador Ato Webeshet Werkalemahu also commented ‘. . . very splendid and healthy cuisines, the whole set up is comfortable for guests, very impressively shows the accurate Gurague culture, YOD Abyssinia is a reliable place that makes proud not only Ethiopians but foreigners too.”
“. . . an excellent start, it’s good to see Gurague natives and others that didn’t have a chance to go to the countryside having an astonishing experience of the typical culture in this house, the presentation of the foods, the "Damera", everything was spectacular.” said Ato Gebreyesus Igata owner and managing director of Gift Real Estate.