Entertaining stay with the crew of Besintu drama. As the Ashenda festival draws near, the resilient women of Tigray eagerly prepare to reclaim their cultural traditions and find solace in the aftermath of war. Among them is Awet Girmay, whose unwavering spirit embodies the essence of the festival.
To Awet, Ashenda represents more than just a festive occasion—it symbolizes women’s freedom and independence, a day where they can celebrate without constraints. For her, it is a manifestation of Maryam’s glory, a moment to honor the strength and resilience of women.
However, Awet harbors concerns about the preservation of these cherished traditions. She believes that the so-called modernization is gradually eroding their cultural heritage.
In the past, the celebration of Ashenda was tailored to women’s ages and experiences. Mothers who gave birth separately were celebrated in their distinct way, while older mothers had their unique festivities. But now, everyone is celebrated together, losing the nuance and depth of the traditional practices, according to Awet.
Another aspect that worries Awet is the evolving attire worn during the festival. The authentic traditional dress consisted of a ribbon dress adorned with pearls. However, Awet laments that the introduction of fabric weaving from China has replaced traditional garments. She notes that instead of using their hair, which aligns with tradition, women now wear wigs made from synthetic materials.