Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Observations of the Current Ethiopian Wedding Season and Songs!



For anyone, (of course, other than who locks himself up at home possibly, for fear of transmission of ….forget it!) who scrutinizes the scenes on the streets during the last couple of weekends (and week-days) it has already started smelling holiday. It would be easier to figure out from the repeated horns of cars in a non-traffic streets that this is the start of a wedding season. This is so immediately following 'Fasika' /Ethiopian Easter/. Central Statistics Office (CSO) may have it right, but I guess hundreds or even thousands may apply for issuance of marriage certificate during this time; perhaps equal numbers of huge bulls and sheep might be slaughtered for these joyous occasions. I wish them all happy and prosperous marriages! The fact that nothing has changed the grandiose arrangements seem to reflect that the economic downturn has little effect on expenses on weddings around here – the motto appears 'blissful times like these have to be colorfully celebrated, ANYWAY'. I have also witnessed that these periods have been too busy and, shall I say, become the zenith of their business days for the local popular vocalists. I actually saw one popular artist playing his songs in three different wedding festivities I happened to attend in two days. A friend of mine confessed to me, if he had a little melodic voice, he wouldn‘t hesitate to renounce his career for being a zefaň/singer/ full time, specially, come wedding season.

I for one love our wedding songs…truly. There is something about the lyrics that invites joviality. Well, some of them have libretto outwardly a little confusing (I have to admit) even for someone who understands the language but hardly knows the culture. In fact, if you happen to be the bride or groom with plain understanding of the words of these songs (but not the underlying meanings), they may even give you the heebie-jeebies. Take a look at this one with the line…sərg Ϊna mot and nəw… /literally, a wedding and death is the same‘/ you may wonder ―what? However, it isn‘t meant to say that marrying is the same as dying or vice versa. Rather, it is meant to say the deference we bestow to wedding is equally alike to that of one‘s death or bereavement. So much to learn! Among the other wedding songs, for instance, “Yə wəyn abəbaye” / my grape flower (fruit)‘ which refers to the bride/, Amrobətal mushΪraw /‘the groom looks great‘/, Ϊňam wədənal / we too liked it‘(the wedding)/, hay loga ho! /hurray, hurray! /, kulun man kwaləsh / who did the eye make up for you‘?/, sΪri gulΪcha / make the tripod earthenware (upon which your cooking pot rests above the fire)‘ but actually meant get down to the real business‘ / could be mentioned. I must say that side by side with these mundane songs, even perhaps more, (I‘m not good at statistics), were colorful religious wedding songs that have forge ahead to make these wonderful ceremonies vivacious.
All in all, the current wedding season has suddenly transformed the somewhat sober mood of the fasting time to a season of merriment, a hope and dream-come-true wish for the newlyweds and all their dears and nears.

Məlkam GabΪcha ! /Happy Wedding to the newlyweds!/

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