Photo by: Dawit Tibebu

    Thirty years after he left home, Birhanu Teklemichael still has a vivid memory of the Ethiopian New Year celebration. The big family gathering and festivity, singing and dancing around a firework called chibo, and exchanging of gifts and best wishes are the most special moments in his life that the Torontonian can’t easily forget. He can still hear girls singing the famous traditional song called “Abebayehosh,” which is themed with best wishes for the New Year, and presenting bunches of special flowers called Adey Abeba by going door to door in their neighbourhoods. He terribly misses drawing his favourite picture of a chicken and a yellow flower in bulk on pieces of paper and sharing them with his family and neighbours as New Year’s gifts. According to Teklemichael, the glue that causes those memories to stick is the spirit of happiness and new hope that the New Year atmosphere brings.

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