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13 Cultural and Traditional Facts To Know About Ethiopia


Facts About Culture and Tradition in Ethiopia


Ethiopia, an ancient country with many diverse ethnicities has one of the most amazing and unique people, cultures, and traditions ever witnessed.

These people have various cultural and traditional practices that they have passed down from generation to generation and continue to practice them.

There exist many similarities among the diverse ethnicities but they also retain their own special stories.

That is what makes Ethiopia such a wonderful place to visit.

Travelling the length of Ethiopia, one will inevitably come across many different unique aspects from history.

For example: Queen Sheba's palace, the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

Cultures and traditions are meant to be kept and preserved throughout the generations.

Ethiopians have done a remarkable job of maintaining and preserving their traditions and cultures.

Ethiopia is often referred to as a living museum; this is where the inhabitants continue the way of life from the past generations with little to no changes.

Harar is a beautiful example of a living museum; the fact that they erected a wall around their city in the past helped them preserve their way of life and can be witnessed today.

Sometimes these traditions and cultural facets come together in a way that creates a stunning example of how Ethiopia could be called the original "melting pot" country.

Traditions such as the bull jumping of the Hamer people can still be witnessed today in their remote villages.

More traditions of this nature include the Donga people and their stick fighting.

Religion is also a very important factor when considering culture and tradition of Ethiopians.

Orthodox Christianity and Islam being the main religions that have immensely affected the way people of Ethiopia have led their lives in both the past and the present.

This can be witnessed in the everyday life led by Ethiopian people across the country.

Today, modern Ethiopia is a prime example of how people can come together and celebrate their similarities as opposed to focusing on their differences.

The following are 13 cultural and traditional facts that one must know about Ethiopia.

From bull jumping to Ethiopia's traditional honey wine tejj and much more...


1. Ethiopian Languages


languages chart of ethiopia
image credit: cia world factbook

Ethiopia has about 70 languages!

The official language is Amharic, but Oromigna, Somaligna, Tigringna, Sidamigna, Wolayttegna and Guragegna are also widely spoken.


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2. Ethiopian Alphabet


alphabet chart of ethiopian fidel, characters

Ethiopia has its own unique alphabet, built uopn the ancient language of Geez

Nowadays, Geez is commonly used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. However, the alphabets of Geez, with some minor adjustments are used by the following languages in Ethiopia: Amharic, Tigrigna, Guragigna, and Aderigna...


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3. Ethiopian Calendar


calender of ethiopia

The Unique Ethiopian Calendar...The Ethiopian Calendar is calculated along the basis of solar movements and is considered a solar calendar. It differs from other calendars in the number of years, division of the year in to seasons and months, and the system of counting hours...


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4. Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony


coffee ceremony in ethiopia

Coffee is widely consumed in a traditional way among Ethiopians...Coffee was first identified in the Ethiopian region then called "Kaffa". The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony has the people take their seats around a bed of grass, whilst the lady preparing the coffee sits in the center on a stool dressed in white colored, and woven traditional clothing....


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5. Traditional and Modern Ethiopian Music


music in ethiopia

Traditional and Modern Ethiopian Music...Traditional Ethiopian musical instruments include: kirar, masinko, washint, and kebero. You can experience these instruments live in an entertaining fashion at Azmari Bets or traditional clubs. Tilahun Gessesse, Mahamud Amed, Aster Aweke, and Teddy Afro are some well known artists of the modern era.


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6. Ethiopian Food and Drinks


food and drinks of ethiopia

Ethiopia's National Dishes and Drinks...Injera a soft bread made from Teff flour is the most common food in Ethiopia. Teff is now considered a super food by many, due to its high valuable mineral content. Doro Wot a chicken stew is also very popular and widely enjoyed, as is Tejj a wine made from honey.


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7. Ethiopian Paintings


painting in ethiopia

Ethiopia's Ancient Churches & Monastaries...Ethiopian paintings which are found mostly in churches and monastaries have a unique signature in the way they represent figures. Similarity among the paintings include the proportion of the size and shape of the eyes and nose to the whole face. Depictions mostly include saints, angels, and ordinary people. These paintings can be found in galleries all over the country, as well as in churches, monastaries, and shops.


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8. Ethiopian Architecture


architecture in ethiopia
image credit: pinterest.co.uk

Ethiopia has a wide variety of architecural designs...Ethiopian Architecture designs range from ancient historical marvels such as Axum, Lalibela and Fasiledes to modern day country side dwellings.


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9. Traditional Ethiopian Instruments


traditional music instrument in ethiopia

Well known Ethiopian traditional musical instruments include: Masinko, Kirar, and Begena...The Kirar has between five to six strings. The basic structure has two bars which hold another horizontal bar from which the strings are tied up. Masinko is made up of only one thick string. The Masinko is used widley because of its ability to adapt to different types of music. One of the oldest instruments is the Begena which is made from wood, hide and a special string found in the intestinal walls of a goat or sheep. It produces a lound tone and has ten strings.


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10. Ethiopian Weaving


weaving in ethiopia

Inzirt and Shimena are traditional methods of Ethiopian Weaving...The Inzirt is used to make thread from cotton which will then be sent over to the operator of the Shimena. The Shimena is used to make traditional Ethiopian clothes...


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11. Ethiopian Traditional Dress


wollo wello traditional dress, costume in ethiopia

Habesha Libs, Kemise, Netela...During special events and holidays, Ethiopians usually wear Habesha libs or traditional clothing. They are locally produced white fabrics in different styles. Habesha Kemise or dress has a colorful pattern around the bottom and the netela or shawl is the put on.


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12. Ethiopian Festivals, Rituals, and Holidays


festivals, rituals holidays in ethiopia
image credit: adventureabyssinia.com

The Victory of Adwa, Epiphany, Bull Jumping, Stick Fighting, Ashenda, etc...With Ethiopia's long history and large variety of peoples, it is no wonder many recreations are available. The Victory of Adwa is significant in that it was the first time in recorded history that an African country defeated a European standing army in battle. Bull Jumping and the Evangadi dance are interesting rituals found amongst the Hamer people in the Omo Valley. Stick Fighting or Donga found amongst the people of the Surma Tribe is a sure way to be facinated.


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13. Books About Ethiopia


books on ethiopia, haile selassie

Choose from a large variety of books related to Ethiopia...From the Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I, to an English journalist Graham Hancock retelling the circumstances and thoughts that led to his discovery that the Lost Ark of the Covenant really exists...books on Ethiopia are anything but dull.


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