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The Royal Month, Maskaram

  The Royal Month, Maskaram መስከረም

By Mitiku Adisu
The month of Maskaram reigns royal in Ethiopia--preceded without fail by heat waves and a dry spell. And then come the heavy rains. Unlike other months Maskaram is also known for keeping its admiring subjects at bay five whole days (six each leap year) before it opens wide its gates. And while you wait you review the past, rehearse buhé and hoya hoyé and enjoy mul mul for appetizer.

Immediately you pass through the gates (if you are lucky) you find all kinds of goodies waiting for you: enqutatash wrapped in the New Year; nosegays for your godparents, colored pencil drawings for your favorite uncle and so on. An air of expectancy permeates the  sun, the moon, the nights, the days, a gust of wind and adoring adéy flowers. Conversations take a new turn for what seems days on end.

Nkwan adarasawo
Nkwan adarasachew
Nkwan adarasash,
Nkwan adarasah
Nkwan adarasan

Maskaram is that time of the year when Nature relents and splashes her splendors. In the words of the Psalmist,

The hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing. [Psalm 65: 12b-13]

And a little farther on on the 17th is Masqal. Masqal arrives bearing the Cross, spitting Fire, and heralding discovery, expectancy, and baptism by fire and water. This is the one time that every village square and household in Ethiopia is placed on the same footing. In this, the ultimate sacrifice Jesus paid and the purification that engendered is publicly affirmed. May the Lord reign. May his peace reign.

The month of Maskaram reigns royal in Ethiopia. The rest of the world has misnamed it September. And that’s fine by us. Happy Masqal.

Copyright © 2014 by The Ethiopian Church Journal. All Rights Reserved.