By Bereket Kidane,
IF you are like me, you have struggled through this year’s tough North American winter. You are probably already thinking about your upcoming trip to Eritrea. Anytime is a good time to be in Eritrea visiting family, but the month of May is the best time to visit Eritrea and take part in its national holiday season. Quite simply, it is the best time to be in Eritrea to enjoy Asmara’s perfect 20 – 25 degree Celsius weather or the warm Red Sea waters of Massawa while rubbing shoulders with Independence Week revelers and partiers in the third week of May.
If you go in June instead, there is the Sawa Youth Festival, which draws musical talents from inside and outside of Eritrea. Depending on how you score on the patriotic meter, you may want to make the trip down to Sawa in June to see your youngest relatives graduate from high school and become Eritrea’s brand new citizen soldiers, a rite of passage in Eritrea.
For Eritreans in the diaspora, traveling to Eritrea to celebrate Independence Day “Mealti Netsanet” has always been a way to express solidarity with the State of Eritrea and to renew our commitment to it. Independence Day is one of the few occasions that bring Eritreans from all walks of life together in a common celebration of a sovereign Eritrea.
For kids born in the diaspora, joining with Eritreans at home in celebration of the national holiday season has become a concrete link in forming a connection to the land of their ancestors. The shops and entertainment centers in Asmara can be a little crowded during the busy tourist season but that’s why there are cities like Massawa and Keren. Most municipalities in Eritrea hold public celebrations during Independence Week, with loudspeakers broadcasting popular music and multitudes joining parties to partake in the holiday spirit. But if you ask me, Asmara is where you want to be for the Independence Week carnivals and festivities.
During your stay in Eritrea, you may also want to get to know the countryside by travelling to battlefields of the Armed Struggle For Independence and pay your tribute to Eritrea’s fallen heroes who made it all possible.
So start planning your trip.
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