Birth of the Bab

The Birth of the Bab celebration last night at the Amares was incredible. It was the most colourful and lively Baha’i celebration that I have been to. We got there and there was a beautiful huge carpet laid out inside the compound. There was a golden fabric hanging in a very African style pavilion covering the carpet. Around the edge of the carpet were several sofas and chairs. In the middle were two incredibly lush bouquets of roses. Around the edges was scattered long green grass sprinkled with rose petals. There was a small candle labara in the middle next to the roses. It was so beautiful; the setting was perfect and incredible. The sun was shining on the golden fabric leaving the area beneath in the cool shade. It was an amazing experience. There were some devotions, we all rose and faced Akka while some readings were read in Amharic, then there were some prayers in English and Amharic and some more readings. After that the junior youth got up and started singing with their beautiful and lively songs. During this I had my camera set up on a tree with my gorilla pod taking timed pictures every four minutes.

After the singing two of the youth performed cultural Ethiopian dances. From each different area of Ethiopia there is a different cultural dance. These two youth did each of the cultural dances. They were incredible dancers, and I fell in love with the dances. They were so upbeat and intricate; they looked very difficult. There were lots of animal and very guttural African movements in them. We watched, and then were soon pulled onto the floor. At first it was very uncomfortable and awkward, their style of dancing is very different. Soon though some of the guys showed me moves and I followed them and soon I was laughing and dancing. There are lots of shoulder movements and hands and head, very different to the North American grinding to ‘solierboy’. It was pretty funny to see Kyle get dragged up against his will as much as he tried not to and see his face turning bright red.

The two youth were still performing cultural dances, dance after dance, they were incredible; I wish I could send videos. The evening continued in his way with music playing and dancing. At one point everyone sat down and food was brought around, an incredible abundance of all kinds of food, and very good food, they have the best donuts here. When we left they had switched off the Ethiopian music and turned on the western hip-hop radio station and some youth were dancing in the corner. I left with a bag full of bananas, some bread and 4 roses. It was getting dark and we walked through the dark rocky alleyways. As we walked we met up with a guy who was holding some sort short square stringed instrument that he had been playing for some of the songs. I gave him one of my roses. We walked with him up through some very dark and narrow rocky lanes, turning onto lane after land amidst weaving between compounds. Eventually we emerged at the top by Cotebe college where we caught a taxi. When I climbed and in sat on a bench type thing in the aisle and I realized that the guy sitting on the seat in front of me was staring at me. I waved at him and said hello, he smiled and looked away. When I looked back he was still staring at me, he asked where I was from in broken and heavily Amharic accented English. I told him and gave him a rose. When he got off I moved into his seat beside a woman. When my bag of food began spilling she tied it up for me, I gave her several pieces of bread and she was very grateful. She gave me another bag to put my bag in. She had a Canadian keychain, but she did not speak enough English to tell me where she had got it. I have here a rose. Soon we got off and walked for a while along the dark streets illuminated by headlights and a few open shops selling shoes and clothing. As we made our way down the steps to the next taxi stand some guy said “can I have one please” Jasmin smiled and gave him one of her roses.

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