This time of year is always exciting for Eritrean diaspora coming back home. From the beginning of May until September there is always an extremely high influx of Eritreans living abroad who travel back home to relax, see family, and have a good time in their motherland. Eritreans come from all over the world with similar expectations of learning and exploring their home land. On the other hand, Eritreans living here at home await eagerly for the arrival of their loved ones who they haven’t seen in many months or years. This time is a very emotionally filled one, but one thing is for sure, most if not all are looking for a good time and what better way to spend it than seeing the 2023 expo festival.
Expo is a memory many diasporas have from their childhood growing up Expo festival was something every child was looking forward too. Expo festival is a festival that many of us have had the opportunity to attend however due to the corona virus it has been closed for the past 3 years. Therefore, the reopening of expo this year attracted many locals and diasporas alike putting them in a festive mood, filling the streets with smiling, cheerful, kids and families.
The EYFF organized a day for the diaspora to visit expo together. As many only go with family, we wanted the people to experience expo with friends and like-minded people. We went on a busy Saturday afternoon to experience expo during the day and night and its was delightful to see how one thing can bring out the whole of Asmara it was definitely an event worth going to. The group was extremely impressed with the festival in general. However, most enjoyed the exhibitions of the Mai-Nefhi students that presented their final projects which where extraordinary. It was incredible to see the young talent and knowledge that’s within the country, whilst others enjoyed seeing the ethnic group houses and people, as they had the opportunity to see the insides of the homes for the first time.
Many already know that Eritrea is rich with amazing cultural food, and where else will you find it other than at the expo market. At the festival you could find many restaurants with in and outdoor seating’s where you could eat traditional Eritrean food. In addition, there were plenty of street food stands where you can buy ‘Tamiya sandwiches’, traditional Sudanese breakfast, Shawarma wraps and more let’s not forget our amazing Asmara Coke. Having all our favorite foods together in one place to try was great, as we were able to try out foods we have never eaten before, which allowed us to explore more of our cultural dishes.
One of the main attraction in expo that most enjoy and look forward to, are the cultural houses set up by the 9 ethnic groups scattered around expo. Due to the wide variety of ethnic groups dispersed around Eritrea, many people have never encountered or seen the way other ethnic groups live, therefore seeing them gathered all together in expo is a once in a lifetime experience. As well as having cultural homes, they also performed cultural dances competing against each other and it was nice to see the different traditional clothes and dances of the 9 ethnic groups.
Overall it was a successful outing for the EYFF especially seeing how the festival hasn’t happened the past couple of years, it was lovely to see how people come together and celebrated. It was also a way to see how the youth of today are progressing in education and innovation, all in all the festival was amazing and enjoyed by many.
Mela Biniam Asmellash