By the time this article is published, everyone will be on a countdown for the New Year. Months before, friends, colleagues and families have decided where and how to celebrate this great festivity. ‘Hadsh Amet kemey ena?’ is the question everyone in town addresses to their loved ones in order to find out what their plans might be. It is a time of resolutions, promises, hopes and wishes. Almost everyone in the world awaits this hour with excitement, as if something really dramatic will happen, like we will all jump into space and float wildly.
This hour brings many resolutions. Individuals and couples with red faces in the previous year are in more forgiving and forgetful moods. Business men act like men and pay their debts. Store displays continue to track the days since announcing big discounts for their customers. Institutions have closed their doors for end-of the year auditing. College students hardly listened to their lessons in the last two days of the semester, excitedly thinking about a break from their studies. Mothers wish the best for their kids, families and communities. Elders kindly expect their particular prayers to be answered on this day, and for miracles to manifest. And some journalists’ have to work on this holiday to capture the exciting moments as people celebrate, all credit to them.
There might be special ways of celebrating this new day in the country side but it is globalization has gathered most people into an urban way of celebration. The Chinese follow their own calendar, as do the Arabs and others, but the rest of the world follows the Gregorian calendar, readying itself to celebrate in its respected spectacular and particular ways.
Amet Selam, Amet Fqri, Amet ksanet, Amet Rahwa, Mulue Tiena yigberelna are the local repeated and sundry wishes which imply the new year to be a year of peace, love, tranquility, prosperity, and good health. Even if they have them already, people want an updated version of those qualities since it is the New Year.
Attitude adjustment is what people fight for and try to introduce into themselves from this day onwards. It is a day for transforming personal bad habits, adjusting former interactions with people and changing lifestyles. Some claim it is just an issue of the date changing and that there is no need to bother about it, pessimistically jumping to the next and saying that if anyone looks for change they must begin from where they stand.
Some people prefer to take a vacation after an exhausting year of routineness in their jobs. Heading to the city of Massawa and enjoying the Gorgusum beach is a popular journey for many in Asmara. Nearly half of the youth by now in the port city, choosing this very relaxing spot.
Bars, restaurants, night clubs and also snack bars are the most visited places since people take the days off. Even Deqi Mamma (mammas girls and boys) are allowed to spend the night out but with plenty of pre-cautions.
Venturing for refreshment spots in Mai-Hutsa and Mai-Surwa is another preference people look for on the first day of the New Year. Getting together is the main ingredient, along with all sorts of drinks and foods. Many liters of liquor are exhausted on the New Year’s Eve that I can surely tell, despite I am no alcohol fan. No empty seats, no empty clubs or bars except empty homes. Everyone is out! trying to forget the misery of the last year and have fun, while few are praying in their homes for the next year to be more pleasant than the last.
Over the past week money has been collected by individuals and institutions for the enjoyment of this special event. Coffee ceremonies in a well-articulated manner are served on the first day of the year. Mothers wear traditional dresses, sitting and calling all her family to have a sip from the lovingly prepared coffee, topped off with the smoky incense of myrrh. Popcorn and candies are presented in Mebli’e Qursi. Postcards with double wishes of Christmas and the New Year have been already distributed by institutions to their employees, just as people share their own to their loved ones.
Expatriates have already landed and reunited with their families. Families are gathering together for special dinners. Friends have already left to the port and some are even leaving this morning so they can enjoy the winds and waves of the Red Sea and the scenic walks on the streets of the historical port city of Massawa. Others who have remained in the towns have arranged their programs. People everywhere are keeping their smartphones in hand expecting and replying to the mid-night texts with the fireworks launching to the high skies. The social media activity of friends and families is crowded with posts of New Year wishes that make it hard for late users to use the busy network.
The three busy holidays: Ferenji Christmas, the New Year and Ldet (local Christmas) are renowned to let people go from their routines and enjoy their times over span of two weeks. The mind blowing moment is hours away and people throughout the world are eagerly expecting their first hugs of 2017 and to express their wishes for their loved ones.
Thankfully, new babies will be delivered on the New Year’s Day, and, sadly, some great friends and family members will no longer be with us. With that in mind, enjoy the New Year’s Day, as you may never know where you might end up after.
It is a time for warm hugs, regaining peace with people and looking forward. May the new beginning bring happiness, a spirit of starting, fresh dimensions to our lives and again more enjoyment we could ever imagine.
Happy New Year !