A week after I arrived in The Horn, everyone asked if I had my special New Year’s Day Outfit. New Years? Wait, you mean in September? Yup. And there was a special outfit! The tradition is to wear all white. Boys wear white suites, girls wear a white dress with a white scarf. The day before the celebration, we went to the open air market to look for dresses – and I mean there were 8 white women looking for traditional dresses – we definitely drew a crowd. Though it was an overwhelming experience, it was lovely to participate in something special to that culture. The dresses come in a few different styles (from very traditional to very modern) but most have an embroidered design down the front that matches your scarf.
It was not only a day for dressing up, but for eating special as well. Animals were being sold for slaughter all over the city. The day before the holiday, we saw piles of sheep and goat carcasses all around the city. But there were feasts to be had by all, and we were so lucky to be invited to a national friend’s house to eat and celebrate. This consisted of eating some choice ethnic food, drinking homemade special-drinks, a coffee ceremony, and socializing. We also had the privilege of being photographed around town, seeing as how we were the Americans-in-traditional-clothing oddity.