Fichee-Chambalaalla

Fichee-Chambalaalla is a New Year festival celebrated among the Sidama people. According to oral tradition, Fichee commemorates a Sidama woman who visited her parents and relatives once a year after her marriage, bringing buurisame, a meal made from false banana, milk and butter. This meal was shared with neighbors. Fichee has since become a symbol of unity amongst the Sidama people. Every year, astrologers determine the correct date for the festival, which is then announced to the clans. Communal events which take place on the date of the festival include traditional songs and dances in which every member of society participates in. On the first day, children go from house to house to greet their neighbous, who treat them with 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-existance and integration among Sidama clans and the diverse ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Parents transmit the tradition to their children orally and through participation in events during the celebration. Women, transfer knowledge and skills associated with hairdressing and preparation of buurisame to their daughters and other girls in their respective villages.

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