Skip to main content

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 came 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 opened wide its gates. And while you waited you reviewed the past, rehearsed buhé and hoya hoyé and enjoyed mul mul for appetizer.

Immediately you passed through the gates (if you are lucky, that is) you found 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 permeated the  sun, the moon, the nights, the days, a gust of wind and adoring adéy flowers. Conversations took a new turn for what seemed days on end.

Nkwan adarasawo
Nkwan adarasachew
Nkwan adarasash,
Nkwan adarasah
Nkwan adarasan

Maskaram is also that time of the year when Nature relented and splashed 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 arrived bearing the Cross, spitting Fire, and heralding discovery, expectancy, and baptism by fire and by 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 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.