Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Bone and a Month - Bə T’ϊkϊmt and at’ϊnt !

Have you ever thought that there would be any connection between a bone (perhaps with roasted soft meat on it) and a month? Seems weird, isn’t it? There is, however, a sound link between the Ethiopian second month, T’ϊkϊmt, and bone, at’ϊnt, (naturally with meat to chew on it).
Here’s the story: As the rainy season gives in to the beginning of the sunny time of the year, the second month, T’ϊkϊmt ( October), the weather specially, the mornings and nights suddenly turn chilly (at least used to be), as it is the coldest month of the year(appears to be paradoxical to have cool weather with the coming of the sunny days).

It was common to hear lots of bedside stories beginning like “once on a usual cold October day” and so forth. And the elderly people usually counsel people to eat a little more meat than usual at this period so as to survive the chilly climate. That’s why we have the saying bə T’ϊkϊmt and at’ϊnt which is literally translated as ‘A bone with meat on it is required in most of the meals eaten in October’ (I haven’t heard any advice that‘s helpful for the vegans). This is perhaps because Ethiopia is mostly a culture where meat eating is not basically relegated to a festive event. Perhaps that’s why it is quite common to see large number of people around the slaughterhouses and some restaurants eating raw and roasted meat at this time of the year.

Talking of meat, Ethiopia is amongst Africa’s top cattle holders; according to the recent statistics, the country houses 40 million cattle and 50 million sheep and goats and it is at the moment exporting about 6,000 tons of meat out of which most of them comes from goat and sheep. However weird it might seem, don’t forget a single advice from the elderly and the wise - bə T’ϊkϊmt and at’ϊnt - make sure to have at least a bone with meat before you hit the sack at the end of the day in the coming month, T’ϊkϊmt.
chər ϊnsənbϊt! (Let’s hold on happily!)

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