Ashura and Feeding the Hyenas

Ashura is cultural event which is going to take place on the tenth of Muharam of Islamic calendar. ‘Ashura’ is celebrated by crushing a freshly cut wood. During this festival, hyenas feed porridge prepared by the local people. In Ashura, Hararis celebrate three different events which have cultural values. Hararis Cultural Events The first occasion is Wirshato that is smashing of the gourd; this event is accompanied by song. The theme of Wirshato is to condemn the evil and wish peace and prosperity in the coming New Year. The symbolic nature of the celebration is breaking the gourd in order to symbolize the benefit that deserves from breaking the habit.The second event of Ashura, is porridge feeding for people. One has to consume adequately, excessively in voracious intensity. Otherwise, it is assumed that who does not manage to eat to the just portion of the day or to the expectation; it is believed that he is doomed to suffer from hunger throughout the year. Feeding the hyena is the most astonishing events of Ashura. Harar is known as a friend of hyena. Despite people’s consideration, the hyena as a wild animal, hyena is assumed as “messenger of Sheiks” (Derma Sheik) that is a respected guy to hold and disseminate message in thundering and roaring sound. Hararis feed porridge to hyena on Ashura day at numerous sites of shrines:-Aw Hakim, Aw Abdulqadir Jyilan, Aw Nugus and Aw Aboker. The reason behind the hyena feeding is assumed, in a belief of resolve the conflict of people and hyena in events in which the hyena remained discontented. On that particular day the hyena appears surprisingly punctual with due expectations; and so do elderly leaders from shrines attend the hyena feeding ceremony. The guest “hyenas” appear in grace and glamour accompanied by its followers in cordial arrival, to be feed from porridge made from numerous cereals and pure butter. The amount of porridge the hyena consumes and the action and reaction of the hyena to the porridge presumably occur in three hypothetical scenarios, to the usual expectation of viewers and the shrine leaders. From three events of the hyena feeding the most expected consumption to the proper dosage is the best of the best. The occurrences of the two remaining scenarios are in extreme position, the shrine leaders interpret both events to either famine or pestilence is expected. And people spend the night praying.


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