Hawassa Commission works
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Events in the City

Celebrations in Hawassa City 


There are a number of Holidays and Celebrations that are held in Hawassa colorfully. These celebrations and events could be cultural, religious or other events related to government or Non governmental Organizations events. 


'Enkutatash' - Ethiopian New Year

(September 11)

Ethiopian New Year in Hawassa


The Ethiopian New Year falls in September at the end of the rainy season. The sun comes out to shine all day long creating an atmosphere of dazzling clarity and fresh clean air. The highlands turn to gold as the Meskel daisies burst out in all their splendour. Ethiopian children clad in brand new clothes dance through the villages giving bouquets of flowers and painted pictures to each household.

But Enkutatash is not exclusively a religious holiday, and the little girls singing and dancing in pretty new dresses among the flowers in the fields convey the message of springtime and renewed life. Today's Enkutatash is also the season for exchanging formal New Year greetings and cards among the urban sophisticated in lieu of the traditional bouquet of flowers.


'Meskel' - The Finding of the True Cross

(September 27)


Meskel Celebration in Hawassa

The festival of Meskel is second in importance only to Timkat and has been celebrated in the country for over 1,600 years. The word actually means "cross" and the feast commemorates the discovery of the Cross upon which Jesus was crucified by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The original event took place on 19 March, AD 326, but the feast is now celebrated on 27 September. This holiday is highly celebrated in Southern Region of the country with more of its cultural values as a new year. 


Genna (Ethiopian Christmas)

(January 7)


Genna is Ethiopian Christmas, and coincides with other Orthodox Christmas celebrations around the world.  The feast marks the end of the 40-day fasting period of Advent.  On Christmas Eve, the faithful participate in church services through the night before celebrating with family and friends on Christmas day.


Timket (Epiphany)
(January 19)


Timket / Epiphany Celebration in Hawassa

The Ethiopian celebration of Timket (also known as Epiphany), is a symbolic reenactment of the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John the Baptist.  For Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, it serves as a renewal of their baptismal vows.

Timket is a two-day festival, starting the day before, when the church tabot (replica of the Ark of the Covenant) is taken from the church to a nearby location, usually near a body of water.  This is representative of Jesus coming to the River Jordan.  The tabot spends the night in this location while the priests and other faithful hold a vigil through the night.  In the morning the water is blessed and is then sprinkled on the gatherers (or they may chose to bathe in the water), renewing their baptismal vows.  Long parades then carry the tabot back home to the church while the revelers sing and dance. In Hawassa it is celebrated in Medhanialem Church that is located at the gate of Lake Hawassa Yefikir Hayik Area.


'Fasika' - Ethiopian Easter


Easter Celebration

On Easter eve people celebrate and go to church with candles which are lit during a colourful Easter Mass service which begins at about midnight Ethiopian time. People go home to break their fast with the meat of chicken or lamb, slaughtered the previous night, accompanied with injera and traditional drinks (i.e. tella or tej). Like Christmas, Easter is also a day of family re-union, an expression of good wishes with exchange of gifts (i.e. lamb, goat or loaf of bread).



Eid al-Fitr in Ethiopia


Muslim Holidays in Hawassa

Eid Al-Fitr is an Islamic festival celebrated amongst Muslims in Ethiopia and world-wide. It is a festival mainly of the breaking of the Ramadan Fast. It’s is also called the sugar feast or the sweet festival. The muslim faithful fast 29 or 30 days breaking it at the dawn of Eid Al-Fitr (depending on the moon sighting over Mecca) as mentioned in the Quran. This day has a particular way of Salatel or way of prayer and followers pay the Zakat and Fitra before offering their prayers. As the Salatel Eid is commanded to be prayed by the mass, Ethiopian muslims do so in most cities and towns, the most prominent one being the National Stadium of Addis Ababa.


Fichee-Chambalaalla, New Year festival of the Sidama people

Fiche CHambalala in Hawassa


Fichee-Chambalaalla is a New Year festival celebrated among the Sidama people. According to the oral tradition, Fichee commemorates a Sidama woman who visited her parents and relatives once a year after her marriage, bringing ''buurisame'', a meal prepared from false banana, milk and butter, which was shared with neighbours. Fichee has since become a unifying symbol of the Sidama people. Each year, astrologers determine the correct date for the festival, which is then announced to the clans. Communal events take place throughout the festival, including traditional songs and dances. The fiche is beautifully celebrated at Hawassa city in particular place called Gudumale. The New Year is varying every year; it could fall on either of the following months: July, August and Sep-tember. Every member participates irrespective of age, gender and social status. On the first day, children go from house to house to greet their neighbours, who serve them ''buurisame''. During the festival, clan leaders advise the Sidama people to work hard, respect and support the elders, and abstain from cutting down indigenous trees, begging, indolence, false testimony and theft. The festival therefore enhances equity, good governance, social cohesion, peaceful co-existence and integration among Sidama clans and the diverse ethnic groups in Ethiopia. 


Holidays, Events and Celebrations

Events in Hawassa City


Irregularly hosted sport events such as great run, football games of Ethiopian premier league clubs, religious events and trade shows are part of the main attraction for tourists visiting cities. Annual, quarterly held, conferences and meeting of different govern-mental and non-governmental organization usually attracted domestic and international business tourists. These events are usually seasonal with short length of stay.


Saint Gabriel  Feast

St Gabriel Celebration in Hawassa


Each year on December 27 and July 27 people from different corner of Ethiopia especially from neighboring towns and Addis Ababa gathered at Ha-wassa in order to commemorate annual feast of the Archangel Saint Gabriel. In these occasion people from abroad whose primary motive is not religion got opportunity to attend the feast and have colorful reli-gious celebration. Since the building is so massive and beautiful, tourist usually takes picture in front of the church. Mass service, health service treatment through holy water, baptizes and wedding services are given by the church. Except wedding services, other services are given every day because church structure is monastic church structure which leads by monk priest.

Meetings and Conferences

International political and academic meeting and conferences are possible events that have been draw-ing people visit Hawassa every year. As Hawassa is political center and is fast growing city, different or-ganizations have been holding their workshops, meet-ing, conferences and training events in Hawassa. Na-tional and regional trade fares organized at Mesqel square every holy day have been drawing domestic tourists and has been created international tourist another attraction to visit.







Urban Tourism Potential of Hawassa City, Ethiopia ;  Ermias Kifle Gedecho  American Journal of Tourism Research Vol. 4, No. 1, 2015, 25-36