Female artists celebrating Ashenda


In Ethiopia’s northern areas, particularly the Tigray and Amhara regions, girls and young women celebrate Ashenda to mark the conclusion of a yearly 15-day fast called Filseta. A festival exclusively for young girls and ladies where they can display their grace and beauty while dancing, singing, and drumming. Depending on the location, the festivities last from three days to three weeks and take place between August and September. The tall grass known as Ashenda is used to enhance the attractiveness of the gowns worn by the festival’s beauties. Each and every girl dons a “tilfi,” a cotton dress with embroidery from the neckline to the hem. The girls are dressed in braided styles that have been popular for many years. Together with the Ashenda grass, they also adorn their clothing with additional ornaments. It is well known that fathers are the primary benefactors of the clothing worn by young girls. For the festival, they purchase specialized attire, and some even hire makeup artists. Some claim that now is the ideal moment for single women who are prepared for marriage to attract the attention of potential suitors.

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