Festival Eritrea 2019 which featured regional pavilions and regional villages, traditional houses and livelihood, staging of cultural shows, competition on traditional music instruments both at regional and individual levels, recitation of poems, exhibition of invention and innovation works, various works of art such as sculptures and paintings, exhibitions by mining and exploration companies was colorfully concluded in an event held in Expo G3 Hall in the evening hours of 22 August. Government officials, members of diplomatic corps in Eritrea, representatives of the six regions, artists, cultural groups, innovators and invited guests were present in the closing ceremony.
The one-week festival, which was attended by around 500,000 people, stayed open from 16 to 22 August. Expo grounds have been the platform for the portrayal of the fervor of Eritrean culture.
Expo grounds have been a venue that brought the entire country within one premises. Most of the cultural shows, including some oral traditions, were all well researched performances that brought forth the noble values of the Eritrean people.
All shows by cultural groups of the six regions of the country have been outdoor performances and true epitomes of cultural roots. Expo has been a destination where all Eritreans have sojourned together.
Last Thursday was the time for a windup of the events that went on for one week. Cultural groups that had been performing in the expo grounds were all gathered at Expo G3 Hall. All were eager to hear the brief report that reviewed the pros and cons of the overall activities held in the festive week.
Mr. Tesfay Berhe, Chairperson of Holidays Coordinating Committee, made an opening remark. Mr. Tesfay said that Expo grounds have been a venue for the eagerly-awaited educational and entertainment programs. He also commended all parties for their contribution toward the national festival.
Whistles, ululations and applauses of the cultural groups of the six regions overwhelmed the Hall. The closing ceremony kicked off with a famous song, Tsnatna, roughly translated as “our resilience”, presented by children (Red Flowers).
Dr. Saleh Mohamud Qande presented an overall report of Festival Eritrea 2019. In the report Dr. Saleh highlighted the activities carried out in the Expo grounds.
The primary objective of introducing invention in the national festival is to encourage students make use of their talent in bringing remedial solutions to societal problems, Dr. Saleh said.
Cultural dance and music was reviewed as a thriving performance that is enriched by extensive research that explored the very roots of the Eritrean culture. Competition on traditional music instruments was an area where creativity was demonstrated and encouraging research was carried out.
Regional pavilions were introduced in a bid to open a venue for the exchange of experience among the six regions of the country.
Awards to winner regions and individuals as well as certificates of appreciation were presented to all parties who played a role for the success of the festival. Guitars were given to children’s musical groups of Akria and Paradiso sub-zones.
Monetary award was also given to innovators and programmers from the colleges of higher education who developed various applications and electrical and mechanical items. Development of Tigrinya OCR Reader, solar oven and home-assistance robot were among the works that received monetary award. Paintings such as acrylic on canvas and sculptures in gypsum were also awarded.
In playing traditional music instruments, the Southern region stood first followed by Anseba and Gash-Barka regions which finished second and third respectively.
Central, Northern Red Sea and Southern regions were ranked from first to third in the construction of traditional houses and traditional livelihood and received monetary wards.
In the presentation of regional pavilions, the Central, Northern Red Sea (NRS) and Southern regions stood from first to third respectively while Southern, Central and Southern Red Sea regions were winners of oral traditions.
Oral tradition is one of the most highly valued Eritrean cultural assets. Senior citizens from the six regions of the country, including men and women, demonstrated a depth of wisdom in all Eritrean cultures. Outstanding presenters of oral tradition, both at individual and regional levels, received awards for the appealing and research-based presentations.
Traditional dance and music by all regions grabbed the attention of a large number of people. In this category, Central region stood first and received Nakfa 35,000; the Southern region finished second and received Nakfa 15,000 while the Southern Red Sea region was awarded Nakfa 10,000 finishing in the third place.
Nine cultural groups of youth and students have participated in the national festival. A total of 12 dramas, 14 standup comedies, eight monologues and 35 poems in five Eritrean languages were featured in the literary competitions, and the best three from each genre were awarded.
During the closing ceremony, all the cultural groups of the six regions were singing and dancing, giving the event an added color. Festival Eritrea 2019 was officially closed with great enthusiasm.