In this episode, a special panel met to reflect on the celebration of Ashenda and new meanings behind the festivities this year.
Esteemed academic Dr Hagos Abrha explored the origins of the festival from an anthropological perspective and the crossover between religion and culture in the context of the celebrations. He also considered men’s roles in upholding the values of Ashenda and ensuring the conversations continue beyond the festival itself.
Kisanet Halie Molla described her eclectic and visceral memories of celebrating Ashenda in Tigray, reflecting on the small details which made the experience an important part of her identity and connections with other women.
Rowena Khasay similarly remembered her time celebrating Ashenda in Tigray, and the particular meanings of the celebration for women in the diaspora in maintaining unity and connections to their home. Rowena also discussed the new meanings of Ashenda this year and the need for women’s suffering and trauma in the Tigray War to become a part of the festival in the years ahead.
Chessie Baldwin explained how joy can be used as a method of resistance. Drawing on examples from Nazi occupied Europe and colonialism, she discussed how love, dance, language and humour is an important part of sustaining long-term resistance and the particular meanings for this in the Tigray War.
Finally, Elizabeth Yihdego Gebresilassie reflected on how Ashenda has been celebrated differently this year. In light of the pain of Tigrayan women, Elizabeth explored the importance of translating the meanings of Ashenda beyond the festival to the rest of the year and the evolution of the celebrations to commemorate all those who have suffered in the Tigray War.
Generously hosted by Teklai Gebremichael.