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Ashenda celebration with Enzert group

Indigenous communities’ cultural traditions serve as physical representations of their underlying philosophies of life. Ashenda is a traditional women’s cultural celebration that takes place in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, at the end of the month of August during the summer. Ashenda is a very well-known and adored women’s festival because of the cultural capital, creative appeal, and aesthetic splendor it creates throughout the greenest seasons. Despite the festival’s popularity, there have been few academic studies or attempts to understand its material, artistic, or aesthetic heritage. The only analyses of the distinctive festival are those that are broadcast on television and radio each year during the festival. These analyses are not only superficial, but they also leave out key details and fail to adequately reflect the festival’s profoundly ingrained, long-standing artistic, aesthetic, and gender implications. Therefore, an analysis of the oral and material artistic traditions associated with the Ashenda festival was undertaken, with a focus on providing gender-based justifications for the Ashenda songs and poetry in Tigray. There are also descriptions and explanations of the diverse physical, creative, and aesthetic expressions. Our research shows that the Ashenda festival, even if it is only observed once a year for a brief period, gives women and girls independence in a society that traditionally oppresses them. Therefore, women and girls can be motivated to fight for their rights and equality by the spirit and values of Ashenda.

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