Ethiopia: Celebrating Unity in Diversity –


Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Day (ENNPD), commonly known as Hidar 29, is now becoming remarkable Day every year because this Day primarily belongs to the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples; therefore, it is their day. It is also a Day when the Constitution of the land was adopted and, the Constitution too belongs to the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples; therefore, it is their Constitution.

Further, Hidar 29 is becoming a symbol of peace, democracy, justice, tolerance, love and affection between and among Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia. It is also a demonstration of unity that embraces diversity, an expression of cultural religious, linguistic and ethnic multiplicity and where all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples bring the assets of their culture to one place; thus, on Hedar 29, multi ethnic multi cultural and multi linguistic people gather in the different cities of our nation every year in order to celebrate this truly peoples’ holiday. This Day is also an expression of the Democratic Federalism that accommodates the above diversities between and among our people to further strengthen unity in diversity, enhance national consensus, empower them and enlarge the awareness of our people towards our constitutional system.

From the very outset, the State and the city that is given the responsibility to host Hedar 29 starts to be ready way before the due and is willing to host this Remarkable Day. As a result, the host city becomes anxious waiting for the people who would arrive at the host city from every corner of our nation in an extra ordinary, unprecedented and unparalleled manner. To date, ten cities did host this remarkable people’s holiday and what a grand and unforgettable reception it was! It was simply spectacular.

Usually, the preparation for the grand celebration takes almost a year. The preparation is composed of and accompanied with among others huge developmental works. Amongst those magnificent development works undertaken within a very short period of time for this day are: building impressive stadium of intentional standard that can accommodate over 35,000 spectators, building modern Guest Houses including VIP guest houses that will have a long -lasting service provision to the State, building over modern houses mainly built by METEK that also helps to accommodate guests who come to the State on different occasions for different developmental activities, building traditional and cultural houses that will provide services to tourists and serve as tourist attraction sites, improving and installing modern infrastructure facilities such as airport modernization, installing new and modern electric lights, pedestrian roads, decorating and cleaning sites and streets, installing and beatifying parks etc. Other activities such as workshops, conference, seminars, exhibitions, trade fairs, university conferences that address important National and State issues are part of the activities programmed and performed because of this important Day.

Prior to the due date, the host city is decorated with our National and State flags. Different banners and posters depicting the importance of the day adds more colour to the beauty of the host city. Shining and bright lights of the host city becomes more appealing and very much tourist attracting showing the host city’s enormous potential to be one of the most important tourist attractive and tourist destination cities in Africa and thus, the host city’s potential to be a power house for tourism.

Few days prior to Hidar 29, variety of workshops, seminars, and conference and trade bazaars are held in different places of the host city including within the Universities and colleges and in the new Conferences House built because of Hedar 29. Those seminars touch important topics dealing with the socio-economic and political reality of our nation. Free and open discussions are held on topics such as among others the Constitution, youth and gender issues, on the economy, on Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, on education etc. On the due date i.e. Hidar 29, people start entering the new and specious stadium built for the occasion as early as 6 o’clock in the morning. This shows that the people of the host city were eager and anxious to celebrate Hidare 29. The special stadium is decorated with flags, pictures and messages of the celebration. Young students show magnificent theatrical and artistic gymnastics accompanied by beautiful music by the State and Federal Police bands. Invited guests including representatives from neighbouring countries, High level Government Officials, Ambassadors, the Diplomatic community and the main actors: Representatives of our Nations, Nationalities and Peoples are present during this grand festival. A cultural showcase from Representatives of Nations, Nationality and Peoples of our Nation is extremely colourful and totally attractive. It is simply the main event of the day.

There is a tendency to associate the NNP Day to a one day festivity; however, the real purpose of this Day is beyond festivity. It is developing infrastructures, enhancing culture and tradition, strengthening People to People connection and reinforcing tolerance amongst people, respecting the rights and responsibilities guaranteed by the constitution of the land and most importantly, strengthening the understanding, love and respect between and amongst the different NNP of Ethiopia. This important day has especially helped the less developed States of our nation to speed up and scale up their developmental activities and be equally privileged, responsible and accountable in all aspects of developmental endeavour like the more developed States of our nation; thereby, creating a common economic society within the nation. Therefore, Hidar 29 is not simply a day of festivity but also a day where variety of developmental projects are undertaken that will have a long lasting developmental benefits to the people at large of the State and indeed to the Nation as a whole as well.

The most important part of the festivity of the Day is without doubt the show of the main stakeholders of the Day; The Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. This parade that includes musical and cultural show of the Ethiopians Nations, Nationalities and Peoples is simply spectacular and captivating for any spectator to see and admit the richness and depth of the Ethio-culture tradition. This fascinating and breath-taking show that exemplifies the harmony of the Ethiopian people during good and bad times also shows the unity in diversity of the Ethiopian people. It is also a demonstration of the commitment of the Ethiopian people to join hands in order to get rid of poverty and illiteracy and enhance development and prosperity once and for all.

Finally, the day ends with a show case of a fire work to the delight of the people of the host city. Shining and bright fire work made Hidar 29 a truly remarkable and simply unforgettable festival. Hedar 29 celebration signifies unity among the Ethiopian people who came from every corner of the country and abroad. It also demonstrates and gives a clear message to everyone that the Ethiopian people are as always united and strong. It also shows that Ethiopians do like peace, democracy and stability and are working hard to put their country forward through investment and development.

Here, it is important to ask one important question and that is: what was the reason for such a grand festival to go with such perfection in a short period of time? Among other things, the one and very fundamental reason for such a success is first and foremost the ability of the organizers both from the House of Federation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the State Administration to mobilize their people to do the best they could to make Hedar 29 truly memorable. That includes the excellent leadership and commitment of the High-level Government Administration of the host States who believe that Hedar 29 primarily belongs to Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. Excellent leadership, coupled with conscious and committed organizing committee from both Federal and State administrations makes this historic day a truly remarkable and memorable holiday. Further, from the very outset, the organizers i.e. The State Government’s offices, the Staff, the Volunteers and most importantly the People of the host State’s extremely meticulous planning and implementation from the preparation to the execution of this Great Festival makes the holiday simply perfect. Equally important and that should be noted is the leadership taken by the House of Federation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Here, the leadership of the Speaker of the House of Federation and the different committee’s set-up to organize and make Hidar 29 successful is extremely vital.

Finally, the readiness and politeness of the host city’s Guest Houses and Restaurants hosting their guests is worth mentioning. Most importantly, it should be noted that during all the celebrations, there has not been any accident, no incident, no robbery or burglary of any kind, no violence, no harm, none; what so ever.

The 11th Ethiopian nations, Nationalities and Peoples Day will be celebrated in the beautiful, historic, the living museum and world heritage city of Harar and that will simply be marvellous and indeed stunning. Where else can this Remarkable Day be celebrated than the world heritage and one of the rarest cities holding the dual UNESCO title: the world heritage status and the peace prize city: the only place in the world where tremendous tourist attractions are situated within small land area and where three grand religious places, the Muslim, the Orthodox and the Catholic are lined within 150 meters but never in history have their differences caused any religious conflict; thus in a naturally historic and culturally well positioned city of Harar.

Harar possesses many tourists attracting sites. The wall of Harar/Jugal/ is one of the ten world heritages of Ethiopia with its five entrance gates and 24 watching towers now only two survive was built by the Great Amir Nur Bin Mujahid in 1951. The Harari women are well known for their different type of handicrafts, world famous basketry, an astonishing design and attracting colour combination. Harar has famous museums, cultural houses, shrines, site seeing, hyenas theatre show places, markets, old coins and jewellery, parks, rock painting and caves, collection centres and cultural centres owned by government, the private sector and the community at large.

From the very outset, the people of Harar have been ready and willing to host this remarkable day after it was announced that they will follow Gambella’s wonderful accomplishment. The traditionally generous people of Harar are anxious waiting for the people who would arrive at Harar from every corner of our nation. The people of Harar call their guest “our people”. So in effect, the people of Harar are currently waiting for their own people to come to their beautiful city: The People of Harar will host their people in an extraordinary and in an unprecedented and unparalleled manner. And what a grand and unforgettable reception it will be! It will be simply amazing. Let the positive and constructive competition to make Hidar 29 vibrant continue. Long live Hidar 29.

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