ASHENDA!! See This Festival In Ethiopia Where Young Girls Showcase Their Beauty To Attract Suitors!!

To mark the end of a yearly 15-day fast called Filseta, the girls and young women in the northern parts of Ethiopia, notably the Tigray ad Amhara regions, celebrate Ashenda.

Ashenda is a unique traditional Tigraian festival celebrated in northern Ethiopia that is only for girls and young women. “Ashenda” is the name of a tall grass found in the country that the revelers used to embellish their celebration gowns.

ASHENDA!! See This Festival In Ethiopia Where Young Girls Showcase Their Beauty To Attract Suitors!!

Ashenda is an annual cultural celebration associated with northern Ethiopia, especially the Tigray and Amhara regional states. The girls and young women who the festival is for adorn themselves in dresses called ‘tilfi’ which is a cotton dress ornamented on the front with amazing embroidery from the neck to toe.

They also wear their hair in the braided styles that have been developed for ages and ornament themselves in jewelry and Ashenda grass. The length of the festival that usually takes place between August – September, varies from three days to one month depending on where in the region it is; shorter in urban areas, longer in rural areas.
According to a local publication, the women and girls gather in a central place where they divide themselves into smaller groups before going house to house to sing, dance, and entertain the people of their community. Customarily people give them gifts in form of money, food, and drinks.

ASHENDA!! See This Festival In Ethiopia Where Young Girls Showcase Their Beauty To Attract Suitors!!

This goes on an entire day and throughout the festival period. To close the celebrations the women and girls convene in a central area to drum, dance, sing and socialize. They hold the main festival every year in Mekelle and it goes by other names that include:

Shadey, Ashendye, Solel, Mariya, etc. Ashenda sometimes referred to as Shadey, Ashendye, Solel, Mariya is mainly held in Mekelle. At Mikelle the girls divide themselves into smaller groups, but sometimes a group can have 50 girls. Sometimes the older women join the girls in the celebration for solidarity’ sake.

The music sang range from appreciating Ashenda to Christian songs mixed with love songs and songs that appreciate their beauty. The melodies to the songs have a unique beat that would make anyone move along with the girls.

As an appreciation to the girls, they are showered with gifts in the form of money, food, and drinks, and this goes on throughout the festival.

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