Business is booming.

A Peek At The Traditional Practices of the Nara Ethnic Group (Part II)

Another traditional practice of the Nara ethnic group is the celebration of “Ana-nasa”, which is held every four years. Although there has never been a studied explanation, it is thought to be related to the Julian calendar of the leap year.  On this day, the men in the village rise early and burn grasses of a local plant, Shekha. The women prepare to make a traditional drink, Sewa. These activities announce the start of the “Ana-nasa” celebrations.


“Ana-nasa” is also celebrated among the Kunama ethnic group especially around Fode. On this day, the Kunama also burn branches of a tree just before the sky clears and morning comes.  After the burning of the grass, the ritual followed among the Kunama is quit different from the rituals of the Nara. On the eve of “Ana-nasa”, one man from the inhabitants would be elected and he climbs to the highest mountain in the area and shouts. The inhabitants hearing the scream of the man will stop what they were doing and there would be total silence in the area. Once the man acknowledges the silence of the village, he will announce, “the men that study the climate and the stars are going to go; women of the area get ready to prepare the drinks.”


The men that are going to start their journey to study the climate and stars in the area are four and they stay in the outskirts of the village for three to four days. There is a possibility that the men could stay for longer. Until those traditional researchers come back to the village, no one leaves the village for any reason other than collecting water and firewood. The inhabitants of the village wait for the return of the men desperately.
Meanwhile, the men will find a naturally created hole on the ground and pour Sewa into it; once it is filled with the drink they will look to the sky and observe the climate and the stars. These four men predict the climate of the coming seasons based on their observation and if they observe good weather, they return to the village shouting and dancing. The inhabitants waiting the return of the men will welcome them by singing, dancing and ululating. The inhabitants also have a ritual of making a circle from sand; believed to be a good wish for the crops.

Before the arrival of the four men, a hut is prepared for the drinks.  Once the men arrive at the village, elders of the village leading all the participants will go to this hut and sip from the drink and spit it on the floor, this is also believed to be a good wish and this particular tradition announces the beginning of the “Ana-nasa” celebration.

“Ana-nasa” is celebrated in one particular place, and all the inhabitants gather in this place. One man will stand up and recite the “Goda- Anana”, a poem. All the participants repeat after the man and once “Goda- Anana” is over, the inhabitants divide into two groups and continue to sing and dance: the group of men dance and sing facing north while the women’s group dance and sing facing south. After they dance four times, they will continue to sing and dance together. In Foda the songs and dances of “Ana-nasa” aren’t played in any other event, but during the “Ana-nasa” celebration the village is filled with the beats of “Ukunda”.

In case, some one passes away during the “Ana-nasa” celebrations, a goat is slaughtered and the meat of the goat is given to the participants, and a funeral ceremony is held for the deceased after the  “Ana-nasa” ends.
Similar to the beginning of “Ana-nasa”, the end also has its own rituals: the men of the village go to the river in the area and hold a race among their livestock. All the animals that participate in the competition will be covered in charcoal and have beads hanging from their neck.  Sewa is prepared to end the festivities. While the participants are dancing, a local leader, “Lagamana”, will come to the middle of the dance and call to end the dancing. This ends the celebrations and the local leader gives his blessing for good and fruitful year. This is the last ritual in “Ana-nasa” and after this event; “Ukunda” is not played. The celebrations of “Ana-nasa” go on for 25 days.

Although this is one unique practice among the Nara and Kunama ethnic group, there are other several traditional practices frequented among all the ethnic groups in the country and all the practices have their own meaning and trends which impress every one including the participants of the event.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More