Ethiopian artists celebrating Ashenda

Ashenda or Shadey is a festival celebrated in August (G.C.) in the Tigray and Amhara regions of Ethiopia and in neighboring Eritrea. Ashenda marks the end of a two-week-long fast known as Filseta when adherents of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church gather to honor the Virgin Mary.

The word “Ashenda” is currently used both in Amharic and Tigrigna languages to denote a vertical sewerage channel that passes water down to the ground from the top of a roof. In the Khimra sect of Agew, Ashenda means the “tall green grass”, estimated at around 80–90 cm minimum height that girls wear around their waists during the holiday. In the tradition of this religious festival, blades of grass are strewn on the floors of homes and shops as a kind of welcome mat.