Fichchee Chambalala

Date: June 21-22, 2020

Location: Addis Ababa

Fichee-Chambalaalla is a New Year festival celebrated among the Sidama people. According to the oral tradition, Fichee commemorates a Sidama woman who visited thier parents and relatives once a year after her marriage, bringing a meal prepared from false banana, milk and butter, which was shared with neighbors. Fichee has since become a unifying symbol of the Sidama people.
Each year, astrologers determine the correct date for the festival, which is then announced to the clans. This year’s (2019) Chambalala festival is celebrated from June 10-11. Communal events take place throughout the festival, including traditional songs and dances. Every member participates irrespective of age, gender and social status. On the first day, children go from house to house to greet their neighbors. During the festival, clan leaders advise the Sidama people to work hard, respect and support the elders, and abstain from cutting down indigenous trees, begging, indolence, false testimony and theft.
The festival therefore enhances equity, good governance, social cohesion, peaceful co-existence and integration among Sidama clans and the diverse ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Parents transmit the tradition to their children orally and through participation in events during the celebration. Women in particular, transfer knowledge and skills associated with hairdressing and preparation of meals to their daughters and other girls in their respective villages.
Fichee – Chambalaalla has been registered at UNESCO as an intangible world heritage in November 2015.
There are sequences of events that are performed throughout the Feeche Sidama’s New Year celebration. The most vibrant once are performed on the day of Feche (the New Year) and the day after the holiday – Chamballa festivity.

Itinerary Outline
Day 01: Arrival and drive to Hawwasa. O/n Haile Resort
Day 02: Attend Festival of Chambalala. O/n Haile Resort
Day 03: Boat trip on Lake Hawasa in the morning and in the afternoon drive to Simbo Lodge. o/n Simbo Lodge
Day 04: Morning visit Abijata Shalla National Park. In the afternoon drive back to Addis. o/n Addis Ababa/ Departure
Detailed Itinerary
June 10, 2019 (Day 01): Arrival and drive to Hawwasa. Pick up from the airport in the morning and drive to Hawasa. On our way we will stop over at the lake of Ziway for some boat trip. We will arrive in Hawassa in the evening of Fiche Holiday. We will directly drive to the villages to attend the traditional dinner that is served with the dough of false banana and butter “Bureseme” communally. o/n Haile Resort
June 11, 2019 (Day 02): Attend Festival of Chambalala. O/n Haile Resort
Fichee -Chambalaalla, a traditional new year’s celebration among the Sidama people of Ethiopia in Hawassa neighborhood, the regional capital and in all Woreda’s of Sidama.
This intangible heritage and is celebrated the occasion in full costumes and traditional attire. Although it is celebrated mainly, as the SNNP culture rest of the nationalities in Ethiopia also join in celebrating this New Year in a spirit of unity and peace.
June 12, 2019 (Day 03): Boat trip on Lake Hawasa in the morning and in the afternoon drive to Simbo Lodge. Simbo lodge is located on Lake Langano, which is crocodile bilharzia free, and backs on to a well preserved patch of tropical forest.
Later this day we can go for a forest walk. Among the birds we can see are: Dark chanting Goshawks, African Fish Eagles, Hemprich’s and Von der Decken’s Hornbills.
As for mammals we hope to see Colobus monkey, Anubis baboon, common warthogs, Bush duiker, common red back, spotted hyenas, White-tailed mongoose and Bush Babies. Overnight Simbo Lodge
June 13, 2019 (Day 04): Morning visit Abijata Shalla National Park. In the afternoon drive back to Addis.
Abijata Shalla National Park is one of the highest wetland bird diversity in Ethiopia. It is home to 144 water bird species. It is the most important breeding location for the Great White Pelican. It is known to be the best site in the country to find high number of Lesser Flamingos. Acts as a staging ground for thousands of migrating waders and ducks during the palaearctic migration period. Shalla is one of the deepest lakes in Africa and is reputedly one of the widest calderas on the continent.
Abijatta itself is very alkaline but shallow, so flamingoes can be seen scattered over most of its surface, and especially along the windward edge where their algal food source concentrates. You can approach quite closely, but beware of treacherous deep and mud if the lake is low.
Besides of the rich Bird life, some mammals can be spotted at the Lake Abijatta-Shalla National Park, especially Grant’s gazelle, Oribi warthog and the Golden Jackal.
Revered locally for their medicinal properties, the hot springs have a sense of primeval mystery about hem, especially in the cooler early mornings. They are relics of the massive volcanic activity that has formed this amazing country and landscape.
o/n Addis Ababa or Departure