Most Eritreans know what the colors in Eritrea’s national flag stand for. Red is for the heavy sacrifice and blood we paid for during the armed struggle for independence. Blue represents the long Red Sea coastline Eritrea inhabits. Green represents its fertile agricultural land while yellow represents the bright light of independence shining over the country.
Eritrea’s Independence Day is celebrated around the world by all Eritrean families ranging from toddlers to teenagers and young adults. This year, I asked my kids, nieces, nephew and my friend’s kids that we sometimes babysit for how we should celebrate Eritrea’s Independence Day? One of my precocious nieces suggested that we come up with different themes centered around the flag’s colors and choose a different activity related to the theme each year. We all accepted her suggestion and started brainstorming for ideas. Kids are very creative when it comes to these things.
One of the ideas that immediately came up and was a big hit was that we make and enjoy red-blue-green-and-yellow snacks: Mango ice cream, blueberries, kiwi fruits and strawberries. A point of contention arose when some of the kids wanted to replace mango ice cream with a blue cotton candy flavored ice cream. I had to mediate on that one. I told them it was ok. Another one of my nieces wanted to set-up a lemonade stand, like she does for her girl scout cookies, so she could pay her 2 percent. That’s a story for another time! At that point I realized I had told them too much about Eritrea. They knew too much. I told her she doesn’t have to do that yet. There will be plenty of time for her to do that later in life.
Other ideas from the kids were (1). Use blue green red and yellow as theme colors for the day and have fun competitions between the blue green red and yellow “teams” as they do in their school. (2). At our local Eritrean Community center, ask people to wear green blue red and yellow to make a human “flag” for a photo. (3). Display an Eritrean flag and have kids reproduce it with construction paper, scissors and glue sticks. Older kids can assemble the flags and younger kids can glue the collage materials.
So these are some of the ideas we came up with for a fun green blue red and yellow day for the kids on Eritrea’s Independence Day. It’s very important to get kids in the diaspora involved in Eritrea’s various community celebrations so that Eritrea continues to be relevant in their lives as they are growing up. You may want to engage in some of those activities for the kids at your local Eritrean Community Centers.