The holiday of Fiche Chambalala (New Year’s celebration) is being celebrated in Sidama, Hawassa town, Ethiopia . Fiche-Chambalala Sidama’s new year celebration was celebrated with success.
Sidaama are one of the Cushitic speaking people living in South Ethiopia. Sidaama zone is bordered by Oromia region in the north, east and southeast, Wolaita Zone in the west and Gedeo Zone in the south west.
The Sidaama people share culture, linguistic, and historical ties with the majority of the people in the horn of Africa. The Sidaama had its own administration, traditional judgment procedure and money prior to expansion of the Ethiopian central governments.
The name Sidaama represents the People, the land and the language.
The Sidaama people also run their day-to-day activities based on forming groups, and consequently their communication is also mostly done among groups.
The Sidaama people are organised in groups on the basis of different clans and sub clans. Each clan is lead by its respective clan leader and traditional administrators.
The clan leaders and group members meet at ‘Gudumaale’, a public meeting place to reach common understanding on certain issues. It is exercised not only in the areas where these elders are found but also in every woreda and kebele of the Sidaama region.
In Affini system certain issues like politics, economy, social and culture are decided and resolved if and only if the groups reach common consensus. Similarly, the Sidaama practice Qeexaala in groups to make open criticism on what they have received as social and political matter of the people during Fichee chambalaalla, the New Year celebration of the Sidaama people. They practice Qeexaala with song and cultural dance in order to express their happiness, and to forward their social criticism on their praises or condemnation to leaders, government and any concerned body, as well.
On the other hand, Sidaama people perform some ritualistic practices in the form of Qeexaala during the mourning to the death of respected persons, leaders and elders. After the funeral of the respected person, they perform dance and song to praise to what the deceased did when he was alive. It is practiced not only when the above mentioned points occur, but also it is done when they have received and decoded the message to show their critics, condemnation, praises, pleasure, blessings, sadness, etc.
In line with this, “Qeexaala”, the cultural practice of the Sidama people, seems to be the cultural communication for what has been communally communicated to the people. It means that the purpose, characteristics, principle and type of “Qeexaala” seems to be based on the notion to give communication.
In short, Qeexaala is the communication system of Sidaama people and it is highly integrated with culture, group communication, channel and feedback.
The Sidaama region is rich in natural, historical, and cultural heritages. However, most of the heritages are not recorded in written form and can’t have numerous studies made in the area. As a result, Qeexaala is believed to have faced several problems, and it could not be passed from one generation to another effectively.
Qeexaala is considered as a cultural dance of the Sidaama, not merely a form of cultural communication. Qeexaala constitutes speech, non-speech messages, like dancing by structured row, body movement or acquired characteristics like callused hand, gesture, contrived or relaxed face, and so on.
Thus, Qeexaala has been recognized as one type of cultural dances of Sidaama, and Qeexaala is considered as it is performed only during the Sidaama New Year celebration, Fiche-Chambalala. This perception leads other Qeexaala kinds to be overlooked.
Happy Fiche Chambalala!!
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