Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ethiopian ceremonial umbrellas

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Joining in the City Daily Photo group's UMBRELLA Theme Day.
Visit the nice new portal to see how bloggers from around the world are interpreting this theme. 

My photos (which you can enlarge with a click, then another click)  are from Jerusalem Day, May 21, 2009.
Now in May Israel has no rain, so the umbrellas you see above are not for keeping dry.
As I understand it, they are meant to show honor to a person or object.

These men  praying in their ancient Gez language are kesim,  Jewish spiritual leaders of the Ethiopian community.
But Ethiopian Orthodox Christians also use these colorful fringed and embroidered umbrellas.
I have seen them called liturgical parasols and also ceremonial umbrellas.

The relatively new ceremony, now held every year on Mount Herzl, is called "The National Ceremony for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel."

President Peres  had praise for this isolated community that managed to survive 3,000 years of The Exile in the mountains of Ethiopia.
 He lauded their unending dream to return to Israel, which they called "Eretz Jerusalem," the Land of Jerusalem. 

There were several big operations to bring masses of Ethiopian Jews home.
 Peres talked mostly about Operation Moses, 1984-5.
One out of every three Ethiopian Jews who started the trek, on foot, over the mountains and then through the desert of Sudan to the temporary refugee camps, in other words 4,000 of those people, died before they could be air-lifted to Israel.


This kes came to the podium, opened his ceremonial umbrella, and spoke from the heart, without a written speech, in the spoken language Amharic. 
His whole family died on the long way to Israel.
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 For full coverage of this event and for more about Ethiopian Jews, please see my post With Ethiopian-Israelis on Jerusalem Day

24 comments:

Dina said...

I googled and found this:

"The liturgical umbrellas come from hot places -- Ethiopia and
southern India -- where they are used to keep excessive sun off dignitaries. In those places they have come to be carried inside where they continue to function as a kind of marker, signifying the presence of a personage. . . .
Sort of like a 3-dimensional halo!"
-- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/liturgy-done-well/message/1708

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

a three-dimensional halo - that's a new one on me! great photos.

LONDONLULU said...

Very eye-catching photos and what a story.

Jim said...

Beautiful umbrellas.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Fabrizio Zanelli said...

Very nice as usual. I saw umbrellas against sun in fact in Singapore but also in Brasil so... Everywhere sun is terribly burning !

Shantaram said...

Dina, I was thinking of the similarity between the umbrellas in your photo and the ones I've seen in Kerala (southern India). Though the one I have on my post today is a bit different, the 3D Halo is a great thought! Thanks!!

Oakland Daily Photo said...

I always learn something interesting from your posts. It gives me chills to know that Aramaic is still spoken today. I thought it was only a biblical language.

Cloudia said...

Deeply Moving. thank you, Dina




Sending Aloha to YOU
from Honolulu,
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° >

Kay said...

This is so much fun. I love all the colorful umbrellas.

cieldequimper said...

They are beautiful. What a story!

Dina said...

Friends, thank you all for leaving a note. :)

Oakland DP, shalom. Actually, it is Amharic the Ethiopians speak, not Aramaic. But I do agree that it is exciting to think of ancient Aramaic still spoken. Once I fell upon the prayer service of the Syriac Orthodox Christians in their chapel in the Holy Sepulchre. They chanted the prayers in Aramaic! I stood there listening for hours, I was so fascinated by it.

VP said...

They are really impressive: I am tempted to call these umbrella with their Italian name: ombrelloni, literally big umbrellas, usually used on the beach.

Tanya Breese said...

oh i love these umbrellas, very rich and detailed!

Jilly said...

And all such beautiful umbrellas too. So interesting to read the story.

LOLfromPasa said...

You've done it! Interesting story and possibly the most beautiful umbrellas I have ever seen. Cheers!

Jo said...

wonderful post.
Happy Theme Day

Spiderdama said...

Very special umbrellas and I've never seen those before.. Thanks for an informative post!

Happy weekend:-)

Dianne said...

Umbrellas with a story ... not just to protect against sun or rain. A very interesting post Dina.

Ann said...

They are beautiful.Id love one of those. I remember being told there were a lot of Ethiopians in Israel.

Rob Siemann said...

Beautiful people, beautiful umbrellas

Karl Demetz said...

Interesting these ceremonial umbrellas, I didn't know about htem.
Have a nice weekend, Dina.

JM said...

What a fabulous entry on the theme, Dina!

Pietro said...

Interesting ceremony, colorful umbrellas. Thanks for sharing this, Dina.

Susie of Arabia said...

You never disappoint, Dina - I've never seen umbrellas like these! Very cool choice for Theme Day.