Enkutatash in Boston: A diverse Ethiopan Gathering

The Boston Globe
By Jennifer Schwartz
Photo: Patricia McDonnell for the Globe

September 21, 2008

American parents with adopted Ethiopian children who attended last Saturday’s Ethiopian New Year celebration in Cambridge’s Central Square forgot to adjust to “African time.”

Though the printed program slated the welcome ceremony to begin at 6 p.m., the Ethiopians knew it wouldn’t get underway until “at least 8,” said Binyam Tamene, the event organizer and director of the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Alliance.

“You could clearly see the huge change in our community because half the crowd showed up according to the schedule, which Africans never do,” Tamene joked in his office last week.

The “Enkutatash” celebration – which drew more than 500 people for traditional food, dance, music, and ceremonies in celebration of the Julian calendar year 2001, which is used in Ethiopia – showcased a mixed crowd, signaling that the Ethiopian community in New England is expanding from a tight-knit core of refugees who fled war and political persecution in the 1980s to a more diverse and younger demographic, including adopted children.

“Adoption today is different,” said Tamene, explaining the growth. “Parents think it’s important to involve the kids in their homeland culture, and the parents want to learn, too. On the other side, Ethiopians want to feel like they fit in this new society. Hopefully, we can give each other a mutual sense of belonging.” Read More.

1 Response to “Enkutatash in Boston: A diverse Ethiopan Gathering”

  1. 1 happy new year! Sep 25th, 2008 at 8:10 am

    It is disrespectful to make joke about how many of the Ethiopians didn’t show up on time. I think some one speaking for the community should put some thought in to what he says before saying it. There is noting in the DNA that makes us late. We all know most of our people in America don’t have a nine to five jobs and that is very well the reason most of us show up late. Next time you can put on flyer and tell people not to show if not on time then we will see how many will show up. I have been to a lot of weddings in Ethiopia too and we do show up on time. We were respectful enough to show up and pleas have enough respect to not bad mouthing us.

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