The very last Saturday of the 2011 EC was in the 13th month of the Ethiopian calendar, and the weather was very gloomy. However, stores started opening early in the morning. In some ways, Shiro Meda’s winding streets are similar to Marrakech’s bustling Medina. Shiro Meda is typically bustling during holidays, with women excited to get new Habesha kemis (dresses) getting measured, selecting designs or trying on ready-made dresses, picking up orders, and talking about payment. Surprisingly, fewer people were buying clothes this year than in previous years despite the fact that stores were open and dry. Habesha dresses are a type of traditional clothing that have been worn for centuries in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is worn primarily during celebrations and special occasions and is handwoven from cotton. The days leading up to the Ethiopian New Year are one of the best times to buy Habesha dresses. Additionally, Habesha dresses are available on the global market. For instance, online retailers like Etsy allow customers to order Habesha dresses. Timket, rather than Enkutatash, is typically the busiest time for Habesha dress sales (the Ethiopian New Year). Shiro Meda is the location to visit for Habesha dresses, though these days there are numerous Habesha dress stores spread out throughout Addis Abeba. The cotton is first spun into yarn by the Dewari before being used to create a Habesha dress. Then it is given to a weaver, or Shemane, who creates the traditional clothing. And finally, the dress’s various colorful patterns or Tibeb are hand-stitched into it. One Habesha dress can be made in 20–25 days, depending on the design, the workers’ discipline, and other factors. Customers value the fact that the traditional dress is handmade and typically made of high-quality materials. Cotton is the material, and there are various varieties including saba, fetil, menen, weldeyes, etc.
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