St Gabriel is the Patron Saint who guards over homes and churches. There is a huge pilgrimage to St Gabriel’s Church on Kulubi hill, which is on the route from Addis Ababa eastwards, about 70 kilometres before Dire Dawa. Many pilgrims carry heavy burdens as penance, children are brought to be baptized, and offerings are made to be distributed to the poor.
Ashenda is a unique Tigraian traditional festival which takes place in August to mark the ending of fasting called filseta. This event is mostly for girls and young women, which they await very eagerly every year. It is unique to the people in the state of Tigrai which is in northern Ethiopia. The name of the festival “Ashenda” comes from the name of a tall grass that the girls make in to a skirt and wear it around their waist as a decoration.
The young women and girls dress the best traditional dresses called tilfi which is a cotton dress decorated with amazing embroidery from the neck to toe in front of the dress. The girls also adorned themselves with array of beautiful jewelry.
On the 1st of October, drive to Debre Zeyit (Bishoftu) to attend a very colorful Oromo thanks giving festival called, Irrecha takes place on the shore of Lake Hora annually for not less than 1,000 years. Celebrate the traditional Oromo notion of Waka (one god). Some believers carry a sheaf of leaves or yellow flowers to the water’s edge to praise Waka for the bounty of nature, while the others dance traditionally in circles. Then drive back to Addis Ababa.
Celebrated: on Nov 29 &30
Best places to celebrate: Axum
In the eve fly to Axum and tonight attend the eve ceremony at the Zion (Mariam Tsion) church whereas legend has it the original Ark of Covenant is housed.
The following day early morning, attend the colorful church ceremony at Mariam Tsion; pilgrims from all over the country come to express thanks after the fulfillment of a wish, or in the hope of miraculous cure. Believers wrapped in white shawls besides on this day the pilgrims sing with joy with the priests one after the other and among the swaying choir the priests (usually two) raps on drums, letting out a deep boom and female’s voice respond in a piercing chorus of ululations.