By Meron Abraha
Independence for Eritreans has a far deeper meaning and significance than its lay dictionary definition. Indeed, the spirit of Independence Day is not only about Eritrea becoming an independent or free country.
It’s about the thousands of brave souls who sacrificed their lives. It’s about the people’s resistance to successive colonial oppressions. It’s also about the values that the country was founded upon. Eritreans have proven the real meaning of independence through their diverse yet united and harmonious state of being as a people.
And that’s why this national holiday, one of huge historical significance, should be a cause worth celebrating.
During the past two decades, all Eritreans and friends of Eritrea have been cheerfully celebrating Independence Day. And this year, the whole country and people of Eritrea are celebrating the 21st anniversary of their most glorious day.
When it comes to celebrating such important events, as in most situations around the world, Eritreans make extensive use of art. Artistic works that describe nationalism, unity, solidarity, comradeship, heroism… have in fact played a decisive role in Eritrea, both before and after independence.
This year’s commemorative events kicked off with a cultural show at Bahti Meskerem Square Thursday 17 May 2012. The show, which featured dramas and music, got live television coverage. A similar show was also staged at the square Friday May 18, 2012.
Another cultural show was also presented to the public in the evening hours of yesterday May 19, 2012 at the Cinema Roma. The event was transmitted live on television.
Bedecked with creative embellishments, the Asmara streets, whose twinkling lights have been turned on since the 14th of this month, have been accommodating people from all walks of life.
Adding further beauty to the streets are the different decorations made by the businesses and institutions. Flags are apparently everywhere.
Over the years, May 24 celebrations have included a variety of entertainment programs. But almost none of them get the unparalleled audience reception that the ‘Teawet’ program gets.
‘Teawet’ is an assortment of different entertaining shows including jokes, candid camera, and music and drama contests among others. The program has also added several new features to its show repertoire. Aired in the evening hours, the program, which used to be hosted by renowned comedian Girmay Yohannes (Sandiago), is now presented by various hosts.
A series of documentary films and other shows pertaining to Independence and the all-round sacrifice made to secure it have also been scheduled for public viewing across different cinemas in the city.
Accordingly, one was shown at the Asmara Theatre Hall Saturday May 19, 2012 while another is scheduled for viewing at Cinema Roma today.
Reports from the Office of the National Holidays Coordinating Committee programs for this year’s independence anniversary celebrations also include the carnival show, where major institutions in the country display their products to the public.
The report stated however, that unlike previous years, the regional administrations would hold their own carnivals in their respective cities. To that end, a total of 60 administrative areas and organizations in the Central Region will be parading through Asmara avenues.
The Office further pointed out that schools from elementary up to high school level have been conducting activities highlighting the auspicious occasion and that arrangements have been made to display the living history of the armed struggle for independence.
Celebrations marking the 21st Anniversary of Eritrean Independence Day will culminate in the official celebration on 24 May 2012.
This year’s celebrations are being held under the theme “Eritrea Independence: Core of Our Dignity.”