'; ICES20 at Mekelle University: 20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies
Geralta mountains

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

ICES20 logo

Use the "back" button of your browser to return to the list of abstracts.

CULTURAL AND SPIRITUAL VALUES IN CONSERVATION OF CULTURAL LANDSCAPE: REVISITING A VANISHING INDIGENOUS ‘DEEJJOO’ RITUAL PRACTICE AMONG THE KAFECHO IN SOUTHWESTERN ETHIOPIA. [Abstract ID: 1202-08]

ZEGEYE W/Mariam Ambo, Lecturer at Bonga CTE and a PhD student at Mekelle University, Ethiopia

This Panel is intended to describe the cultural and spiritual values in the conservation of cultural landscape among the Kafecho in southwestern Ethiopia. The historical Omotic people of Kafecho are among the ecological communities who live in typical southwestern highlands of Ethiopia having complex indigenous intangible cultural and spiritual ritual practices which are environmentally harmonious. Their very survival has depended upon their ecological awareness and adaptation. Hence, they are the repositories of vast accumulations of traditional knowledge and experience that links humanity with its ancient origins. Nevertheless such indigenous ecological literacy in the forested landscape has never been well investigated and recognized clearly. Thus, this panel discloses one of the indigenous Deejjoo practices and its transformation in the aforementioned area. As the findings of the research depicted, Deejjoo is a thanksgiving sacrifice ceremony to the forest spirit (Qoolloo) in the forested cultural landscape with its series of procedures and rules as symbolic reminders of the performers and their survival, which depends on the forest and in fact its complementary relationship of the two. Hence the ritual practice recognizes and honors the ethics and taboos of forested cultural landscape for what it is. However, the prevailing arena realizes that there are enormous alterations in the ritual practice. These changes include reduction in the number of participants, vanishing of the cultural sacred landscapes due to other pressures and reluctance towards the norms, taboos and values of the ritual practice. Some of the agents identified for these changes are change in the belief system due to currently spreading Christian missionaries, cultural diffusion due to the ‘Westernization’ narratives, state led interventions and its contradictions with the values and norms of local socio-cultural practices. However, despite these pressures and discouragement from internal and external dynamics against the practice of Deejjoo, it still represents the religious ritual practice and cultural identity of its adherents which is ecologically meaningful in the study area.