HISTORICAL BACK GROUND OF MESKEL CELEBRATION
At Boreda of Gamo Gofa which has most similar cultural sharing’s with Wolayita, Gamo, Gofa, Dawuro, male, Basketo, Kenbata ( minor differences seen), Sidama (minor differences seen)
At the earlier ERA, Meskel celebration was on June 15. Everybody; either rich or poor celebrates it. Not only human being but also every living celebrates it.There was a saying << meskel comes for all; including birds&dogs< local sayings like KANAS, KAFUWAS yidda masskalaa.>>> Mainly celebrated with various ceremony based on individuals economical status. The time for preparation varies depending on celebrators effort & economy. Some individuals; especially old aged& pregnant mothers etc. start early ceremonial preparation since from June 1. That they tell as locally <<wolka etti hingichaw gaches.>>
DO YOU KNOW HINGICHA?
It is the time that signals MESKEL is coming. During this time, people tie green grass around their fore head as the sign of blessed time; free of curse is coming.
PREPARATON FOR MESKEL CERMON
Preparation for meskel takes long time. Edir/ekub is the primary preparation where by individuals; especially males start saving their money for at least one year so as to slaught cattle (oxen) for meskel meat. Women in group save either in money or in kind like kibe(butter);if you remember oyissa shuffo that your mom,my mom &their neihabiours used to do so as to prepare porridge(maskalla Totta). Such preparations last for about 13 days before the normal date arrives. Mean while, young children who have not got circumcised collect wood from jungle to fire on the day of comfier locally called GULLA. Every young of the locality should bring the comfier wood otherwise banned by their fellewgroup in local language for instance, < Fanti Joba nay awaan deei? Bazuwan gulla kantes; aa gugiyaa ankooy daffes; ayio gachi mades;wotta letan toges. > These were sayings please, never be disappointed. They used to show that their fellow groups who were absent from such ceremonial celebration and even those who were late to bring gulla wood are like feminine in their behavior. And indirectly make all their groups participate in the ceremony so as not to be banned or criticized by their friends. Through such process, on June 14 evening every children of the community (those who participated in bringing gulla wood) goes to dubusha (where by comfiring ceremony takes place) by being seen off by their fathers or ealders in the absence of their father death. The overall ceremonial program led by head the house hold. He begins it by delivering prayer to his god by touching domestic animals,doors&windows with the flam of the fire( they call it TOMFFE). In certain occasions the ceremony may be led by ealder brothers of the house where the head of the house was absent in case of death. It never be led by any women of the community member. Then the children rush to dubusha to get firing simultaneously with their fellow group. There the ceremony ends.
PREPARATIONOF HUGE FULL JAR OFPORAGE(TOTTA SHENDERA)
Wow! I forgot to tell you about the nice food,(?? ????) you might have it. The preparation begins onAugust 13 prior to ceremony. It is cooked in a very large pot so as to make it ample for large family members, as well all relatives and the neighbors enjoying of it. Culturally cooking food is not recommended for males but possible for(?? ????. The preparation of it requires force (energy) that in certain conditions it is beyond female’s capacity to stir it up. It is mainly prepared from grain of maize and an ample of butter is added in to it so that it can stay for long period without spoiling. Every community of Boreda does it. The feeding ceremony is similar to that of ?? (???) ceremony, begins with blessing from the head of the house hold. Everybody should handle together equally .The head of the house hold should deliver some of the porridge (????) to his god in pieces of leaves of false banana (????).
Those from Kodo moko call themselves as LOKA NATA
Ø Those from Awusato call themselves as DINIGAMO NATA all begin dancing in their locality and come to common area to Gurame wolko.
There they all dance Gaze. It was not only the above mentioned areas who participate in Gaze but also youth from Gocho,Bunteza too. It was not always but seldomly fighting may arises at GAZE for many reason.
1.If there were any unresolved hate among any Kebeles participating in Gaze.
2.Any misbehaving to cross the common dancing areabefore gaze leader (wodalaganje) from that Kebele Who owns the field.
ANKAKORE (wolko gaze dancing field primarily under the ownership of district of Garre ) so that the dancing group (youth) from garre should first enter the field then by others; otherwise fighting arises. On the same day, June 15 dancing group moves to chaffa gaze dancing field owned by zefine who call themselves SANNA NATA. The team (dancing group) had always a leader called WODALAGANJIA.WODALAGANJIA is a person who crosses gaze dancing area primarily from the dancing group and allows (gives) permission to hunting & nominates the hunting leader (gadawa). The person who leads hunting makes peace among individuals who fought during gaze & may punish accordingly.
The punishment depends up on an individual’s crime; in case a person may lose his tooth, or may had sever body harm during the fight and found to be guilty but hecannot accuses anybody for his injury. If a person who injured wrogly (intentionally) give or got punished either in money or kind like: an ox, cow, sheep, got etc. The peace making process take place at the end of gaze after June 16 specially after offinta . Offinta is the day after gaze ends mainly Wednesday; some time people say oroy offinta to imply that mesekle has passed and they eat some local food like potatoes considering that they started fasting. Local songs of meskel dancing the team from gare; Ha gare……
The team from Awusato & kodo ; ahoy awusato wozo, wozoy kodora shaho gollo megaro kodo etc.
Such and similar process take place with meskel and the scond and the last,or terminal celebration locaaly called EKKA comes.
EQQA GIYYA(?? ??)
The last terminal celebration day that takes place 4 weeks after main Meskel celebration. During this time not such exaggerated preparation is done for the ceremony but porage (genfo) may be prepared & in certain condition meat may be eaten. During ekka (?? ??), those newly married women enter market in group with their fellows. Their families specially ladies put colorful feathers in their hair called <balle esso> from which the term ekka giya came from. So that ekka giya refers that the termination(ekkuwa) of the mesekel by balle esso as siginal. In doing so people end mesekel celebration by chasing mesekel out and they call it GOLLO GODO.
The process of gollo godo varies from place to place. The people of Boreda chase it by blessing mesekel like this:
Saroo yida maskalaw saro baa, layta soro yaa………….(Hello mesqel. As you came peacefully please go peacefully and come next year also peacefully.
But, in certain area they chase it out by cursing it <maskalaw essuwan baa, durya dursidago maskalaw esuwan baa, mankuwa mankisidago maskalaw essuwan baa> just to imply meskel celebration requires large economy and in doing so it results in families’ economic damage.
Do you know HOYA?
Like gulla, hoya is also processed by young children who were not circumcised. It indicates the transition period between Meskel and gena. The literal meaning of Hoya is< peace for all.> it is considered as time of satisfaction. The children then move in group from one house to the other door to door. The initial point of the house from where to begin running is mainly based on trivial hierarchy and mostly kawo or Hiryto family. There they robe food items and eat whatever food they found there. It is forbidden take anything other than food item. After finishing robbing any cooked food item, the team rushes out and sit in row; then they bless the family like< tosay nuu ayanay immo, layt hanoshe nuun yanashen immo,yeluwa immo, deuwa immo, akuwa,haruwa immo, marra immo, matha immo etc.> In case where the family has no child,the community believes that for the coming year that family bears child. And in certain condition it happens. Such families even get an oath in the name of the group (the team) if for the coming year they got child to give the team got, cow or any other thing as gift. The movement from one house to the other is by running where the one who reaches first to the next house gets good food or benefits better than the other. This requires power or energy for running that small children sometimes benefited from the elders. When running to reach the next door small children fall on the road and the team may run over them and may got injured but no familiar accusation for that. In such a manner the team stays for one month eating whatever they got and collects money. They should address at least all the doors of the community. It is not only blessing but also the team may curse the family members in case of where certain community members deny to open the door to the team and if the team failed to open the by force. Their curse does as their blessing. Through this process they finalize their movement in one month or four weeks duration.
Final Hoya Celebration Ceremony
The team who had participated in hoya finalizes the end by having ceremony. For these they buy an ox or a cow according to the amount of the money they collected. There they eat the whole night. Then Hoya ends.
Male Circumcision Program At Boreda
Mainly preformed at the age of 13 and above, it requires prior preparation to the ceremony. The entire group in that age got circumcised together. There is the common season to it; mainly July to August. In previous era where civilization were not attained the circumcision process were performed by local community members called (chinasha or kushe hilla) but not at these time because every community is now civilized and health professionals are now ample and available in every community and currently no body practice such circumcision and no one stay to such age to have circumcised.
They decide the day to have their child to get circumcised, relatives and some of the known nehaviours are told to participate in the ceremony. Those children who will be circumcised bring wood from jungle, design room in which they will hibernate for about six to eight months till the circumcision wound heals. Actually the heals in one month duration if the hands of hillas are early curable as what locally believed, but it is porviden for the fellows to come out earlier than the expected time. On the day of circumcision, all the family members and anybody who were invited to the ceremony come to it , then all they deliver gifts and back to their home. Then the gay dwells in the room. He should never been exposed to public and sun ray so as to protect himself from solar injury (miche) because the clothes that they wear since highly socked with butter locally called NASIYAA known to attract solar ray. In such a way the family feed their child to make him strong enough for the race of struggle with his colleagues.
Killing of birds during cercusization (girzat)
It is locally called chopiso. After the circumcised gay reaches home, the invited groups move to jungle where many birds may be easily killed. If the one who killed the bird (killing a single bird is enough) given ample of genffo and much butter put in his fore head. The gay is considered as lucky person. In certain situation the team fails to kill birds and may be negatively co notated.
After healing of the wound, the circumcised youth moves out to meet each other. They move from one family to the other; there they eat shendera together. They should not face any public body in their way. In case they see anybody in their journey, they should hide themselves from; otherwise can be harmed in case handed by any public member. They should always wear NASSE till the season passes. It is considered as their common clothes even day and night. Nasse is used as sign of circumcision.
The final task to the circumcised gays is, killing of wild animals. For these, they move to the jungle. There they search for willed animals commonly eaten by the people like: garra, genaa (genesa), gella, gashuwa, or those animals which were if killed make an individual popular in the community are: lion, tiger etc. After all these processes, they should get market in order to be seen in public which was porviden previously in culture. What they do there in the market is jumping over the legs of the married ladies locally called KUSSA ATTO.
The process is not done in public. It requires a secret jump. It is believed that any lady whose leg was crossed over by the circumcised body get very emaciated and day. Crossing process mainly takes place in similar season so that women during these season takes great care of not to cross their legs by them and in case any circumcised gay who failed to cross women’s leg in tern gets emaciated and die. These were believes and happens. To complete these they should enter a market four times. In each tern girls of the same age deliver gifts to the boys.
Commonly performed if and only if the girl get engaged for a marriage; otherwise not. Some times at the age of 13 to 15. Currently female circumcision considered as harmful traditional practice and no community does it as its consequence in giving birth because the current community is very aware of it.Any ways in the former society they get circumcised, when they are ready for marriage. These takes place when the males family who is wanting their son get marriage discuses with each other especially, the son’s father and mother from whose family that they can engage a beautiful girl to their son. In such away they set selection criteria especially from a wealthy and socially respected and with matching race is well recognized. After that they select individuals from their locality who some kind orator and can easily convince the girl’s family. The convincing individuals then go to the girl’s family early in the Moring. Not a single person but two or more individuals go to there. On the first day they discuss with the family head and then he appoints them just he should have to have a discussion with his wife. Then he discusses with his wife and if reached at the agreement, let his wife that she should inform to her girl to have a consent. If she agreed, they deliver their agreement to the negotiators. In certain conditions if the girl refuses the boy, the family tries to convince her. In doing so, they reach in the agreement. Then they tell the negotiators that they accepted their request. So that the select a person from the team to have further discussion about the marriage process. The selected man is usually known as LAZANTA. Who commonly discusses about the weeding, take of the girl after marriage as what her family does for her before she married, makes peace among her husband if they quarrel each other.
The Weeding Process
The discussion of the date for the weeding is by common agreement of the two families. The agreemental process is reached by lazanta. He brings messages from one family to the other. Then the date of the weeding will be decided. The preparation then begins, information (call for the weeding) disseminates to the relatives and for all for whom they have delivered gift. On the day of the wedding ceremony, the group from the male side comes havening a local sing but cannot cross the demarcation from the girl’s family. The demarcation is set by the agreement of the girl’s family. If in case they set as the team from male side should never come to my fence, then they not. If they do so, fighting may arise from groups from girl’s family side. And if such regulations are respected, the weeding ends peacefully. Then the boy with his friends, lazantas and menate( the lady who cleans bleeding from the genitalia of the girl after sex in case if the girl is virgin) enter in to the girls house. When they enter, the boy and his colleagues should kiss all the elders of the family from the girls side; there all the girl’s families deliver gifts that could be clothes, domestic animals etc. according to their economic level. And the girl then taken out and, put on Mules or horses back to gather with her husband or alone. When reaching at male house she is then carried by strong person among the boy’s friend then taken to his family and gets blessed before she is taken to her special room where they make a sex.
In their room they start to have a sex but it not something by agreement where culturally by force. So the bride with his bride room starts struggling to have sex by force. In case if the bride room defeated by the bride and failed to have a sex then his colleagues come in to the room to support him by handling the girls hands or legs then in doing so let him have a sex. Virginity is a very expected phenomenon that delivers respection to the girl, her and her husband’s family. To show these true the lady called Menate cleans the labia after she had a sex so as to collect fresh blood around the vagina. In case where she collected the blood with a towel, she delivers it to the boy family and then they hears loud a happiness sound (ellilsa) to declare that their daughter’s to the outside standing weeding group. So that everybody shares the enjoyment. Then on the next day, Menate takes the blood to the daughter’s family to share happiness and to clarifay that how many of their children grown up by disciplinary.
The bride . There she stays for about four week’s duration. Then she starts to come out to public for these; she moves to her bride friends just to start moving to their relatives from door to door. In such rounds, they should address all their relatives meanwhile they enter market, there they set together in group and their families and relatives receive them in the market. Then the brides sit in row and their relatives bring them a local drink called BORDE. The drinking process is mainly done in group. Two brides drink from a single jar (??) and the process called DAGETA which is two people drinking local draft mouth to mouth fromone pot . During this process the two brides simultaneously put their mouth in a single jar and drink together. This indicates that they have strong love among them. Even if they quarrel each other, no peace making body required among them because they can resolve it by themselves.
This article has been contributed by Mulugeta Dalbo edited and corrected by Fanta Joba.