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An addition to SJ 06. COFFEE - FESTIVE - Not just a regular coffee

The Eritrean coffee ceremony is a beautiful tradition that embodies community, culture, and hospitality. It's a ritual that brings people together to share in the preparation, serving, and enjoyment of coffee. The ceremony involves roasting the coffee beans, grinding them, and brewing the coffee in a traditional clay pot called a "jebena." The aroma fills the air, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. This ceremony is not just about coffee; it's a symbol of unity and friendship, where conversations flow as freely as the coffee itself.

In Eritrea, it's common to serve freshly brewed coffee with a side of popcorn and traditional bread. The popcorn adds a crunchy contrast to the rich coffee, and the bread, often a type called "hembesha", complements the flavors and textures, making the whole experience even more delightful.

The Eritrean wedding coffee ceremony is also a reflection of the country's rich cultural heritage. Beyond being a symbolic start to the couple's union, it serves as a conduit for familial bonds and community ties.The process is deliberate and unhurried, emphasizing the importance of taking time to appreciate life's moments. The ceremony's ambiance is enhanced by traditional Eritrean music, vibrant attire, and often includes incense to add a fragrant touch to the setting.It is often conducted by a woman chosen for her knowledge and experience in performing this ritual.The process itself is steeped in tradition and symbolism: it often begins with the spreading of fresh, aromatic grasses and flowers on the ground where the ceremony will take place. This act symbolizes fertility, growth, and the beauty of nature, enhancing the atmosphere and aesthetics of the event. As the coffee beans are roasted, their aroma fills the air, signifying the purity and richness of the moment.

Each step of the ceremony carries its own symbolism, offering blessings for the couple's life journey together: during the brewing, the first round (awel) represents life, the second (kale'i) symbolizes happiness, and the third (bereka) signifies prosperity. Each round involves a specific brewing technique and serves as a moment for the couple to receive blessings from elders. Moreover, the coffee ceremony is a platform for sharing stories, advice, and well wishes for the newlyweds.

Elders play a central role, offering blessings and wisdom to the newlyweds, ensuring the continuity of cultural values and familial guidance. This intimate gathering fosters a sense of closeness, allowing guests to connect and share in the joy of the couple's union. This beautiful ceremony is a cornerstone of Eritrean culture, carrying forward the essence of tradition and community.


Read more about coffee, craft, art, design, and much more in our issue 10. FESTIVITY

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