October 27, 2015
The season which starts on the 26th of the first month of the Ethiopian calendar, the month of Meskerem (or October 6th in the other years and October 7th in the leap year) and stays for 40 days is a season assigned for the commemoration of the migration of the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary His mother, the old Joseph and Salome. In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church liturgical calendar, the season is known by the name “Season of Flower” (ዘመነ ጽጌ).
In this season the celebrated Ge’ez hymn poetries “Hymn on the Flower” (ማኅሌተ ጽጌ) and “Lamentation of the Virgin” (ሰቆቃወ ድንግል) get emphasis and sung for, the former, i.e Hymn on the Flower, relates the season and its wealth with the plant, the flower and the fruit, symbolizing Mary, the Mother of God, and her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the later, Lamentation on the Virgin, mostly focuses on the hardship that Mary faced during their fleet, or flight, to Egypt and their wandering with great tribulations of fear, hanger, thirst and fatigue in the wilderness of their migration destination during their stay for three and a half years.
I took the title “Jesus the Migrant, the Hope of Migrants”, translated from the Ge’ez texts “ኢየሱስ ስዱድ ተስፋሆሙ ለስዱዳን”, from the 15th century composition entitled “ሰቆቃወ ድንግል” (Lamentation of the Virgin). This prayer book is known for its richness of the tribulations that Jesus and His Mother Virgin Mary faced during their migration to Egypt. It has 57 hymn parts, and one of them found in the 14th order reads as follows:
ኢየሱስ ግፉዕ ምስካዮሙ ለግፉዓን፣
እግዚአብሔር ማሕደር ዘአልቦ ከመ ነዳያን፣
Jesus the oppressed, the protection/shield of the oppressed;
God, the homeless like the needy;
Jesus the traveler and stranger being a child;
The beloved Son of the Father, but abandoned to men;
His mother’s grief become unto me the lamentation of cry. (ገብረ ሥላሴ ብርሃኑ፣ 2000: 686)
I have tried to assess different sources to get the central definition of migration and migrant, but found no unique meaning. Let me put some definitions with their references:
Human migration is the movement by people from one place to another with the intentions of settling temporarily or permanently in the new location. The movement is typically over long distances and from one country to another, but internal migration is also possible. Migration may be individuals, family units or in large groups. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_migration)
The term migrant can be understood as "any person who lives temporarily or permanently in a country where he or she was not born, and has acquired some significant social ties to this country." However, this may be a too narrow definition when considering that, according to some states’ policies, a person can be considered as a migrant even when she/he is born in the country.(http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/international- migration/glossary/migrant/)
The Amharic Bible Dictionary almost agrees with the above UNESCO and WIKIPEDIA definitions. It states “one who forcefully emigrated from his birth country and resides in another country” for the migrant, but it identifies migration with tribulations and torments. (Ethiopian Bible Society, 1992: 84)
From these all, it is understood that in addition to the non-unique nature of it, migration in the case of man is the movement of man to different places home or abroad, and for different reasons, forced or voluntarily.
Migration or fleet from home is not an odd phenomenon to the human history and it is not new life in the course of time. The first man, Adam, fled from paradise to the earth but with hope of return and his descendants led their life with different migration from that time till now; the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, again made various fleet that He fulfills or to undo the flight of the first. God willing, I will deal with these issues and the like in the coming parts, in the present “Season of Flower”. You may expect more on the history and life of migration, on the duality of migration, on the migration of the first and Second Adam, on Jesus as a hope of migrants, etc. Till then, I beg you for your prayers that I may uninterruptedly witness the word of God.
O Mary! I am in need of your intercession to participate in your and your Son’s flight that I partake in the grant of the return from migration. I heartily venerate you, the Mother of God, and worship your Son, the Savior of the world; as one who owns you and your Son has not and will not be ashamed forever. Amen!
• Holy Bible, King James Version
• መጽሐፍ ቅዱስ፣ የብሉይና የአደስ ኪዱን መጻሕፍት፣ 1962 ዓ/ም፡፡
• የኢትዮጵያ መጽሐፍ ቅዱስ ማኅበር (1992)፣ የመጽሐፍ ቅዱስ መዝገበ ቃላት 6ኛ፣ ባናዊ ማተሚያ ቤት፣ አዱስ አበባ
• ገብረ ሥላሴ ብርሃኑ (2000)፣ መጽሐፈ ሰዓታት ከነምልክቱ ምስለ ኵሉ ጸዋትዊሁ ወባሕረ ሐሳብ፣ አዲስ አበባ