Written by Ruth Abraham |
After the consecutive holidays of Christmas, New Year and Geez Christmas, Epiphany comes to close the joyful season.
No matter how busy people are, they always hold back to celebrate the last holiday of the season.
Starting from Christmas, people send text messages wishing one another happy holidays and a prosperous new year. This goes on up to Epiphany when people spend their day engaged in a variety of activities.
People celebrate Epiphany like any holiday with their families. They have food and coffee, watch TV and visit one another. Just like any other holiday, families gather for this one too. It’s a chance for people to visit relatives they did not visit on the previous holidays.
Epiphany in Asmara is celebrated with Holy arks from all over the city gathering at a place commonly known as ‘May Tmqet’ or ‘baptism water’. But let us take this year’s Epiphany to the people in college, where unique type of families reside.
The College of Business and Social Sciences in Adi Keih is our subject today. Usually, when the youth go to Sawa for military training and to complete their twelfth grade, one of the many changes they go through is making families everywhere they go after they go to Sawa. The people you live with in Sawa become your family there. Similarly, the people you live with at the college you go to or in the place you are placed become your family. That is why college students create a familial bond with their roommates and celebrate holidays in their campus as a family.
Around this time of a year, college students sit for their first semester final examination. The season is the most inconvenient season for students to celebrate freely. But they somehow do.
Epiphany is celebrated very well in Adi keih. Almost everyone is dressed in white, the church choir sing songs and priests preach regarding the day. The College of Business and Social Sciences is embraced by the larger Adi Keih community. But it still has its own unique features, and the way Epiphany is celebrated at the college is one of the features.
After attending the ceremony at the city centre, some local residents of Adi Keih take students home for lunch. But most of the students go back to the college cafeteria on campus. After the ceremony in the city center, the local people, usually below 18 of age, run all the way to the campus to get students wet. Inside the campus, nobody wants to go out of their rooms, especially girls who do not want to get their hairs wet. A step out of your room is “poof!!!” you get all wet from head to toe.
Many students fetch water on the eve of the big day. You see even the laziest one of your roommates fetch water and dress in convenient clothes to throw water at people. It is the college’s version of epiphany.
Lunch on campus is served starting at 11:40 a.m. Therefore, unless you skip lunch, there is no way you could stay untouched by water. The strict college rule of not allowing students to get into the opposite sex’s dormitory and restriction of entry to campus of people who are not members of the college community are broken on Epiphany. Students are all over the dorms and the local people are all over the campus. Because the floors get all muddy and slippery, many students fall down while others cheer from their windows.
The college administration does not approve of this tradition. One reason is that they worry about the wastage of water. Two because it is chaotic and three because they are concerned that students might waste their precious study time.
I was chatting with some of my friends who used to study in Adi Keih and they could not stop talking about it. “We dropped all our studies for the day to be part of this beautiful day.” “Oh Man, those were happy days,” said one of my friends with a smile in his face. We all have memories of that day, Epiphany at the college.