The Eritrean festival has a long standing history of bringing fellow nationals together. It goes back to the 1970s with the Eritrean festival in Bologna, Italy, where nationals from all corners of the world gathered to support the national cause.
After Eritrea’s liberation, the Eritrean Festival kept its tradition of being a yearly occasion highlighting the unity, development, steadfastness and patriotism of to the Eritrean people.
As such, this year too, the Eritrean Festival, being observed under the theme of ‘Festival: the foundation of Unity and diversity’, is flavored with a patriotic zeal, and has become a rendezvous to thousands of Eritreans from the country and abroad as for tourists to have a great time in the Expo ground.
In the evening hours of August 5th, a cultural show was performed at Cinema Roma. The next day, on Saturday morning, the Eritrean Festival was officially opened in the presence of the President Isaias Afwerki, Ministers, PFDJ officials, religious leaders, the Diplomatic Corps and invited guests.
The Eritrean Festival is accurate reflection of the endeavours taking place in the country in aspects of development, culture and history; sort of a framed chronicle of the actual Eritrea, its people and its endeavours.
On the left side of the Expo ground a model of the last war’s towards Asmara, a remake of the final Dekemhare offensive, is presented in a distinct way; so much so, it brought emotional recollections to the older generations and a storm of amazement to the younger one.
The youth, being the most refreshing ingredient of the whole event, are displaying an inspirational exhibition conforming pioneering inventions and valiant project proposals with a striking artistry at the G3 Hall.
“We are the future solution” is the slogan posted in a big banner in the corner of student and graduate engineers’ corner. In front of them across the hall stand the IT boys and girls with laptops and gadgets, with matching shirts and capes showing-off handy apps they developed to serve alternatives. This is just a small part of the vast ocean of youth energy dominating the Eritrean Festival.
The open area of Expo grounds is reserved to the typical and eagerly awaited cultural pavilions of the six regions representing the nine ethnic groups in Eritrea. Citizens representing each and every ethnic group, do not bring their culture in electronic tablets to be previewed in big screens, they literally bring tradition in its most real version.
This has been a thirst-quenching aspect of the annual festival, not only in generating an urge to learn of the rich cultural heritage but to actually be part of it. Hence, visitors join the traditional dances, practices, uses and customs, while appreciating the heavenly beauty of the Eritrean people and its versatile rainbow of culture.
One more thing that attracts thousands of visitors is the food stands that feature traditional dishes and beverages from all corners of the country! A stop at this side of the festival is hard to escape.
One of the most existing Eritrean souvenirs is running back and forth in the periphery of the Expo grounds; the one and only steam locomotive, from 1932 up to now! The Eritrean steam train built during the Italian colony was brought to destruction during the British and Ethiopian occupation.
It was revived in 1994 under the Rail Road Rehabilitation National Project and is still running to this day adding a leisure and adventure for both tourists in Eritrean.
A small model of it, is hence, steaming its way in the Eritrean Festival.
More pavilions and tents are currently depicting culture, history and national contemporary aspects and more. And all is beautifully exhibited in the ten day long national festival.
Today, loud music and cheering sounds are coming from the Expo grounds as the Eritrean Festival colorfully continues on its 5th day.