Art & Culture

Fiche Cambalaalla Promoting Peace, Inclusiveness: Sidama Chief Administrator

ADDIS ABABA – Sidama Chief Administrator, Desta Ledamo said celebrating Fiche-Cambalalla is promoting peace and inclusiveness among communities.

Fichee-Chambalaalla is a New Year festival celebrated among the Sidama people. It was inscribed as of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2015.

The new year festival will be celebrated for the next two weeks in Hawassa City with various events beginning Thursday.

On the eve, chief administrator Desta welcomed guests who came to the region to celebrate Fiche-Cambalalla.

Desta said the festival is the cultural asset of the Ethiopian people and the world at large.

The festival is also a unifying symbol for peace, unity and integrity among the community, he said, adding the values of the festival need to be preserved and promoted.

This generation, he said, has the responsibility to preserve the cultural value and bestow it to the next.

Desta called on guests and participants to promote the values of the Fiche-Cambalaalla as it is a global intangible heritage.

About the Festival

According to the oral tradition, Fichee commemorates a Sidama woman who visited her parents and relatives once a year after her marriage, bringing Buurisame, a meal prepared from false banana, milk and butter, which was shared with neighbors.

Fichee has since become a unifying symbol of the Sidama people. Each year, astrologers determine the correct date for the festival, which is then announced to the clans.

Communal events take place throughout the festival, including traditional songs and dances. Every member participates irrespective of age, gender and social status.

On the first day, children go from house to house to greet their neighbors, who serve them Buurisame.

During the festival, clan leaders advise the Sidama people to work hard, respect and support the elders, and abstain from cutting down indigenous trees, begging, indolence, false testimony and theft.

The festival therefore enhances equity, good governance, social cohesion, peaceful co-existence and integration among Sidama clans and the diverse ethnic groups in Ethiopia, says Unesco.

Parents transmit the tradition to their children orally and through participation in events during the celebration.

Women in particular, transfer knowledge and skills associated with hairdressing and preparation of Buurisame to their daughters and other girls in their respective villages.