14 Agustus 2008

Festival: Nara and Kunama Oral Traditions Hosted for the First Time

Simon Mesfun , Aug 9, 2008

Nara and Kunama ethnic groups’ oral tradition was hosted at Expo Hall at the National Festival 2008 today Saturday 9, 2008. Oral tradition of the two ethnic groups was presented for the first time since the start of the oral traditions presentation in the National Festival in 2004.

Two senior oral tradition professionals from each ethnic group along with others presented their respective oral traditions to a large number of participants.

In this year’s National Festival, six ethnic groups (Tigre, Saho, Bilen, Tigrigna, Nara and Kunama), out of the nine ethnic groups of Eritrea, presented their oral traditions.
According to Mr. Mekonen Kidane, Chairman of the Oral Tradition Coordinating Committee, the program was started with only two ethnic groups, Tigre and Tigrinya in 2004. “We made three months’ preparations to include these newly participating ethnic groups. We are working to ensure the participation of all ethnic groups in the coming national festivals,” Mr. Mekonen said.

In this year’s oral tradition presentation, 17 men and 4 women oral tradition tellers participated. The oral traditions are awlo, weye, proverbs, tales, and oral history and so on.

Regarding the interest of the people in the program, Mr. Mekonen said that there is a significant progress in the participation of people to the program.

Speaking on the objective and importance of the oral tradition, Mr. Mekonen said that the aim is to preserve and document oral traditions of the society. “We know oral traditions from old people. But, some who made great contribution in the last festivals have passed away. If one dies, it means we lost one huge book on the specified culture. Therefore, government bodies have to take documentation measures, because oral traditions tell who we really are,” he added.

The oral traditions presentation of the six languages was hosted for four days at the Expo Hall at the Expo grounds.
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