The Ethiopian new year just began yesterday — happy 2011, and I’ll explain in a minute — but the grand celebration will be taking place this coming Sunday at Aurora Central High School.
The Annual Ethiopian Day New Year Celebration Festival will be presented by the Colorado Ethiopian Community, and according to Samuel Gebremichael, the Colorado Ethiopian Community’s board of trustees’ secretary, they anticipate over 3,000 people coming out for the festival, which has grown every year.
The festival highlights many facets of the more than 3,000-year-old Ethiopian culture, and Gebremichael is excited for attendees to get a chance to see several Ethiopian singers and dancers perform as well as enjoy a large-scale Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Because the Ethiopian calendar is 7 years behind the Gregorian calendar that we’re more familiar with, the celebration is marking the beginning of 2011.
Gebremichael says the holiday provides the Denver and Aurora Ethiopian community with a time to unite.
“The main goal is to reach the community and to unite the knowledge and understanding of our indigenous culture. We want to engage the community in using empowerment programs and sustain a vibrant community,” he said.
Tsehay Abakemaw, an organizer of the Taste of Ethiopia, says the Ethiopian new year is a time for communal celebration, not one that you would spend by yourself. She added that just like in other cultures the new year fosters a sense of reflection, which can, in turn, create more progress.
“We celebrate the new year that day when you think about having a good house, good family and living without complication for the year when a new year you have to thank God for reaching that time,” Abakemaw said.
The festival is open to all.
The celebration will be filled with Ethiopian cultural performances involving music and dance as well as history lessons, craft areas and platforms for businesses to showcase their services. Food and drinks will be abundant during the festival and organizers are particularly excited to share the Ethiopian coffee ceremony with the community.
There will also be plenty of family friendly opportunities like the annual parents and kids football game.
Several new year celebrations took place this past Sunday, and Gebremichael said that they have found it best to celebrate the holiday on a different date than on the actual date of the new year — September 11 — because of its unfortunate alignment with the terror attack that took place in 2001.
The celebration takes place this Sunday, Sept. 16 from 2-8 p.m. at Aurora Central High School, 11700 E. 11th Ave., Aurora. For information you can check out their event page on Eventbrite.