The week approaching Ghenna (Christmas), celebrated last Friday in Ethiopia, saw organisers at Mesqel Square continuing to innovate on aesthetics and entertainment. The celebrations there were unique from events hosted in past holidays. The authorities attempted to make every penny of the 2.5 billion Br spent revitalising the most popular public square in the capital count. Part of the square surrounded by the concentric semicircle stairs was adorned with Christmas decorations, hosting food vendors and customers. The red and green lighting glistened best in the nighttime. A handful of eateries had set up shop using food trucks and mascots ran around playing with kids. Several participants were busy snapping selfies.

The jamboree is occurring jointly with an exhibition bazaar taking place behind the gates. It hosted 500 vendors and offered camel and horse riding with music performances to boot. Many of the participants hung out in the courtyard after doing their shopping. The more anticipated celebration will be far from Addis Abeba, in Lalibela, Amhara Regional State, where Ghenna is celebrated warmly. It is one of the main events on the "Great Ethiopian Homecoming" schedule, organised by the government in response to what it perceived as unfair and negative international media coverage. It planned a “million march” on Sunday and looked to wrap up celebrations with Timket (Epiphany) and the "Great Ethiopian Run" on January 23. Officials have been sharing their wishes that the holiday season, which nearly corresponds with the beginning of 2022, marks the dawn of a better year.

“Years come and go but the last one has been a particularly harrowing experience,” recalled President Sahle-Work Zewde. “Let’s make 2022 a year of peace, healing and solidarity.”

PUBLISHED ON Jan 07,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1132]

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