What is Sigd?

Mehlella (Ge'ez: ምህልላ; "Supplication"), also Amata Saww (ዐመተ ሰወ; "Grouping Day") or in its popular name Sigd, also spelled Sig'd (ሰግድ; "Prostration"[1]), is one of the unique holidays of the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jewish) community, and is celebrated on the 29th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. Since 2008, it has been recognised as a state holiday for all Israelis.

Previously, Sigd was celebrated on the 29th of Kislev, and after a calendar reform in mid-19 century it was moved to its present day, 50 days after Yom Kippur.[2]

The word Sigd itself is Ge'ez for "prostration" and is related to Aramaic: סְגֵדsgēd "to prostrate oneself (in worship)".[3][4] The Semitic root √sgd is the same as in mesgid, one of the two Beta Israel Ge'ez terms for "synagogue" (etymologically related to Arabic: مَسْجِدmasjid "mosque", literally "place of prostration", and the word for mosque in Hebrew: מסגדmisgad).

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