Fichchee-Chamballala Festival Celebrated Colorfully In Hawassa


Sidama new year festival Fiche-Chambalala celebrated today at South region capital Hawassa. On the festival elders from all woreda of Sidama gathered together to make a cultural ceremony called ‘Qetala.’  


Sidama ladies added an extraordinary beauty to the festival held today at Gudumale square of Hawassa with their cultural dresses and hairstyles. A number of government officials attended the festival including South region president Milion Mathews, and Oromia region vise president Shimelis Abdissa.


Fichchee is an anniversary celebrated by the Sidama people as a New Year event. According to socio-cultural heritages handed down by forefathers through generations to descendants Sidama New Year anniversary has been praised for more than 2000 years.


There is no fixed date for the celebration of Fichchee. The basis for such unique local New Year’s Day determination and Triumph is Sidama calendar which was an outcome of unreserved and relentless innovative efforts of a selected knowledgeable and highly respected group of people who were actively involved in profound study of the solar system among which the moon, earth, sun, and stars included. According to Sidama people, such complicated investigations on the part of the solar system is conducted and findings communicated to the public by a most intelligent group of people popularly known as Ayyantto (“Astrologists”).

Based on investigation findings of the Ayyantto and according to established calendar Sidama has a week comprising of five days. Names of days of the week were derived from market days occurring in different places and were name as Diko, Deella, Kawaado, and Kawalanka respectively. According to the calendar, a month has 28 days and each day has its own name. According to the Ayyantto some days of the month on which day some work is done, travel made, the foundation of new establishment and the like done may end up in good luck or bad luck to the performer. Declaration of the first day of next month and that of the first day of New Year (Fichchee) will be announced when the Ayyantto sees a close approximation of the moon to five constellations of stars with defined movements observed with each other and to that of the moon. Since the establishment of the calendar, activities have been undertaken by Ayyantto in each month and year throughout in regular basis till present time.


Fiche Chamballala, New Year among the Sidama people of Ethiopia, had registered as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2015.