Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and People’s day in Harar


By Yohannes Gebresellasie (Ph.d) Addis Ababa

Hidar 29, belongs to the Ethiopian Nation Nationalities and peoples. It is also a Day when the Constitution of the land was adopted and, the constitution too belongs to the Ethiopian Nation Nationalities and Peoples; therefore, it is their constitution. 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.

To date, eleven cities did host this remarkable people’s holiday. Usually, the preparation for the grand celebration takes almost a year. The preparation is composed of and accompanied with among others huge developmental and infrastructural works. Amongst those magnificent development works under taken within a very short period of time for this day are: building impressive stadium of intentional standard, building modern Guest Houses that will have a long –lasting service provision to the Region, building over modern houses that also helps to accommodate guests who come to the Region on different occasions for different developmental activities, building traditional and cultural houses and museums that will provide services to tourists and serve as tourist attraction sites, improving and installing modern infra-structure 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 include work-shops, conference, seminars, exhibitions, trade fairs, university conferences that address important National and Regional issues are part of the activities programmed and performed because of this important Day.

Prior to the due date, the host city: Harar was decorated with our National and Regional flags. Different banners and posters depicting the importance of the day add more color to the beauty of the host city. Shining and bright lights of the host city became 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 were held in different places of the host city including within the new Conferences House built because of Hedar 29. Those seminars touch important topics dealing with the socio- economic and political reality of the region and the nation. Free and open discussions were held on topics such as among others the constitution, youth and gender issues, on the economy, on the issue of Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, on education, on the media, on democracy and good governance etc.

On the due date i.e. Hidar 29, people started 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 was decorated with flags, pictures and messages of the celebration. Young students show magnificent theatrical and artistic gymnastics accompanied by beautiful music by the Regional and Federal Police bands. Invited guests including Presidents from neighboring countries, High level Government Officials, Ambassadors, the Diplomatic community and the main actors: Representatives of our Nation Nationalities and Peoples were present during this grand festival. A cultural show case from Representatives of Nations Nationality and Peoples of our Nation was extremely colorful and totally attractive. It was simply the main event of the day.

For those who may not have the chance to see and/or comprehend the occasion, There seems to be a tendency to associate the E N.N. P Day to a one day festivity; however, the real purpose of this Day is beyond festivity. It is developing infra-structures, 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 N.N.P. of Ethiopia. This important day has especially helped the less developed Regions of our nation to speed up and scale up their developmental activities and be equally privileged, responsible and accountable in all aspects of developmental endeavor like the more developed Regions 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 under-taken that will have a long lasting developmental benefits to the people at large of the Region and indeed to the Nation as a whole as well.

The most important part of the festivity of the Day was without doubt the show of the main stake-holders of the Day; The Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. This parade that included musical and cultural show of the Ethiopians Nation, 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 was 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 ended 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 in the beautiful city of Harar once again demonstrated unity among the Ethiopian people who came from every corner of the country and abroad. It also confirmed and passed a clear message to everyone that the Ethiopian people are as always united and strong. It also showed that Ethiopians do like peace, democracy and stability and are working hard to put their country forward through investment and development.

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 Harari National Regional 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 harari who believe that Hedar 29 primarily belongs to Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. Excellent leadership, coupled with conscious and committed organizing committee from both the Federal and Regional administration made this historic day a truly remarkable and memorable holiday and most importantly the host Region’s extremely meticulous planning and implementation from the preparation to the execution of this Great Festival made the holiday simply perfect. Equally important and that should be noted here was the leadership taken by the House of Federation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the different committee’s set-up to organize and make Hidar 29 successful was extremely vital.

Finally, the readiness and politeness of the host city’s volunteers, Guest Houses and Restaurants hosting their guests was worth mentioning. Most importantly, it should be noted that during all the celebrations, there was no 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 that was celebrated in the beautiful, historic, the living museum and world heritage city of Harar was simply spectacular and indeed dazzling. 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 Ethioopia 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 color combination. Harar has famous museums, cultural houses, shrines, site seeing, hyenas theater show places, markets, old coins and jewelry, parks, rock painting and caves, collection centers and cultural centers owned by government, the private sector and the community at large.

The People of Harar hosted their people in an extra ordinary and in an unprecedented and unparalleled manner. And what a grand and unforgettable reception it was! It was simply amazing. Let the positive and constructive competition to make Hidar 29 vibrant continue. Long live Hidar 29.

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