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A Ground for Unity in Cultural Diversity

Festivals are events that bring a society into one field. It is a time enjoyed by all the people from all walks of life. As it is a National Festival season for Eritrea, the grounds of the Expo has witnessed immense excitement and bond between the people in the past week. The numerously visited sites by the partakers of the festival are the cultural pavilions which were opened to introduce cultures with their people. On today’s Q&A we give you few of the people who crossed many areas to be part of the festival and outshine the glorious event. Salih Ali Mohammed

About your exhibition…….

We are here to present and introduce the livelihoods of people in our culture. We are from the Afar Ethnic group. Including myself, there are ten people from Gelal’o to represent our region at this year’s festival. Here, we are presenting a show on how the Afarian people used to celebrate weddings and honeymoons, in early days. That is the original culture. Which nowadays is a totally reformed ceremony.

Back in the old days, when a man likes a girl or if parents want the girl to be wedded to their son, it is the Groom’s mother who goes to the Bride’s mother. She takes clothes and money into the Bride’s house and give it to her family. Afterwards, the Groom’s and Bride’s fathers’ chat about the wedding. After all of the indoor discussions, the weeding takes place, the Groom’s family give the bride gold, clothes and other luxurious jewelries. The Bride’s family doesn’t have to give a penny during the process. After the weeding, the honeymoon continues at her father’s house unlike other cultures. The bride doesn’t go out of her father’s village or town. It is the groom who settles down at his wife’s village building houses for him and his wife.

The Bride stays around her family through all time of pregnancy and even delivery times. The good thing about this moments is that the girl gets help from her family in everything she wants. As an Afarian, a husband travels a lot to the seashores, he never get worried about his wife and kids since they are with their family who can truly take care of them . It is a relief for the wife as well as the husband. But after a while, if they opt for relocation, they can change places far away from the wife’s family. But it is totally normal for them to stay there with the bride’s family.

Are you having visitors?
Yes, plenty of them. People have been visiting and asking variety of questions. They are interested to find out about the way we live and the way we handle things. Especially, younger generations, are keenly interested and I think it is good to let them know about their country’s different cultures and histories. If you think about it, that is the whole point of this festival. We are here to let people know about our different ways of lives and on the way, we know more about others.

About the culture…

Honestly speaking, culture needs to be genuinely preserved, we shouldn’t lose our culture as it represents our identity. We should work hard on knowing our history and cultures. Most of all, I think, we should let our younger siblings and children know and be aware of the original cultures.

The Festival……

The festival is a time where all the society’s ethnic groups interact and it is a good way for us to introduce our original cultures and to remind people about the amazing and interesting culture they have. It is also the time we connect as people, exchange each other’s cultures and way of lives. Our festivals are the symbols of our unity and harmony as people.

Fatima Mohammed Salih

About you…

My name is Fatima Mohammed Salih and I am from Northern Red-Sea La’eten.

You presentation here…..

I am here to explain how the inside life of Saho’s culture as a whole is. Here we have the complete household of a family, the bedroom of the wife and her kids, the bed of the husband, and the family. It is to show our approach of life.

How many of you are here?

We are eight people, who came here to fully represent our region.

Your first time at the festival?

No! We were here last year. Besides, as the matter of fact we have won the price for the “Best Region”, who finely represented its ethic group. Again this year, we have come ready to win again.

Ismael Ibrahim Mohammed

You are from……

We are from the Northern Red-Sea region. We are here to represent the wedding ceremony of Saho ethnic group.

The details of the wedding process…

Back in the days parents used to do all the weeding, stating from finding a bride for the husband until the marriage time. Just like the majority traditions, the Groom’ father requests for the Bride’s hand. If the Groom’s father is not available for different reasons, his older brother or uncle goes to the Bride’s family and ask for their daughters hand to marry their son. When asking for a girl to marry, there are two ways that the Saho people used to ask. One is , when someone gives birth to a female child and if the family want to be linked with the family through marriage, the father of the Groom holds a Green leaf and puts it on the baby girl’s forehead saying, “ she is to become the wife of my son”, as such promises where kept that way. Again another way was, the usual way when they grow up, the families go and ask for the permission of the bride’s family, their daughter for their son. The wedding celebrations are vividly celebrated at places where most green or areas near the sea are preferred. These are the particular places that weddings are celebrated. The places are beautiful and can hold up a cluster of people since they are outdoors.

After the weeding celebrations are done, the honeymoon house is built by the Groom’s friends in Saho Ethnic group. The honeymoon house is finely decorated with even baby jewelries. First night of the wedding, the bride enters the groom’s house with her sister or a close family of hers, so she won’t feel shy. However, the sister leaves the house the second day. Similar the best man stays with the groom until a week of time to help him with what he needs. After a week, he also leaves the newlyweds all by themselves. During the honeymoon time, the spouses and friends enjoy their good times as they create different rules and games to make their times entertaining. If one of the friends should fail to do so, they get penalties to obey whatever the groom asks. As for the bride, she changes her hairstyles and the way she dresses since she is a women after her marriage. This is the way we used to do our weddings. But nowadays it is not that the same. It is hugely reformed. That is why we are here to show people what our real culture and traditions to look like.

Thank you for your time…..

I should be thanking you…!!!!

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