Happy New Year…yes, in September!

Good morning everyone! I hope your weekend went well. Sunday September 11th was Eritrean (and Ethiopian) New Year. Although we use the modern Christian calendar now due to international commerce, etc, the traditional calendar is still recognized and celebrated to this day. The Orthodox Church still uses the Julian calendar, which puts the religious calendar 7 years and 7 days behind the more commonly used calendar. Those of us in the diaspora whom receive the Eritrean television station via satellite got to watch beautiful celebrations held throughout the country. We watched our fellow countrymen dancing, singing and drinking traditional coffee, like millions of Eritreans did throughout the planet.

It was also a time to call family and friends to wish them a happy and prosperous New Year. One of the many traditions in Eritrea is to start a fire outside of the house, jump over it three times (once for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) while singing songs of praise and prayer. Men and boys are blessed through the songs by the women of the family/village and the men then take a torch (lit by the flames of the fire everyone is dancing and singing around) run around the house three times.

To quote one of the songs I heard sung by some gorgeous Eritrean women yesterday, here is my wish for my people and the people of Ethiopia… and for all of us worldwide: “Let us sing and dance together, so that there will be peace. Let us visit each other often, so that there will be peace….”

A wonderful day with family and friends, prayer and the delicious smells of strong traditional coffee brewing and singing and dancing… who could ask for more? Happy New Year everyone!

On the health front in Africa, here are a few articles concerning health in Africa today:

Multi-Drug Resistant TB Cases Confirmed (Kenya)

Ugandan Girl to Address US Congress (Uganda)

Cultivated Land Disappears in Aids-Ravaged Africa (Ethiopia)

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