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Celebrating Sigad (Archives)
Photo: Meir Partoush
Ethiopian Sigd made official State holiday
Knesset decides to include Ethiopian holiday in official holiday calendar. Holiday's history, traditions, ceremonies to be included in educational system's curriculum

The Knesset plenum decided to formally add the Ethiopian Sigd holiday to the list of State holidays, and will be holding an annual state ceremony for it during the Hebrew month of Heshvan, which usually falls on October or November.

 

Sigd is a traditional Ethiopian day of fast, dedicated to prayers for the rebuilding of the Temple and giving thanks for the right to return to the Holy Land. The fasting ends in mid-day, in a Seder of sorts.

 

The Ethiopian community in Israel has been celebrating the holiday by holding a mass ceremony in Mount Zion in Jerusalem, topped with a procession to the Western Wall. In the past few years, the ceremony has been held in Jerusalem's Armon Hanatziv Promenade.

 

The motion was brought before the House by Knesset Member Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party) and was widely backed by MKs from Shas, Meretz, Labor and the Likud parties.

 

The motion passed its Knesset readings, effectively becoming a holiday by law. Its main ceremony will be funded by the Prime Minister's Office; the holiday's history, traditions and ceremonies will be included in the educational system's curriculum and going to work during the holiday will be optional.

 

MK Ariel welcomed the Knesset's decision, saying it was "upholding the sacred duty Israel has to the blessed Ethiopian immigration, which has enriched Israeli society." 

 

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