are close to 90 million people divided in over 80 ethnic groups in Ethiopia, and
they speak over 200 dialects. Ethiopia has never been colonized by a foreign
power which has led to its distinctive identity. When
we talk of Ethiopia as a cultural destination we think of the tribes in the
south which does injustice to the rest of the country because the people in the
south are so much more than just a 'cultural attraction'.
are four linguistic groups in Ethiopia; people who speak Semitic, Cushitic, Nilotic and Omotic languages. The
last group of languages is only spoken in the Omo Valley of the area.
is followed by most of the population in Ethiopia following their very
own Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Approximately 34%
of the population is Muslim.
Food and drinks
main traditional food is called 'enjera'; a huge, sour tasting
pancake with a spongy structure. It is made from teff a grain unique for the
highlands of Ethiopia. The dish is served with all kind of 'wot': meat or
vegetable stews. Because there are several fasting days in Ethiopia, it is the
perfect place for vegetarians and vegans. The spicy stew is washed down with the
local drink called 'tella' and honey-wine 'tej'.
originated from the Kaffa region in western Ethiopia. Today it is one of the
big contributors to the economy. Ethiopians are proud coffee consumers. Coffee
ceremonies are very common here, and often follows a series of steps; the fresh
beans are washed and roasted over a charcoal fire, while grinding the beans in
a mortar, water is boiled and a first cup of coffee is prepared. A second round
is prepared next by adding extra water in the coffee pot. The ceremony will
finish after the third serving, also known as 'beraka' (luck) - it is polite to
take all three servings. During the ceremony incense is burnt, popcorn and
roasted barley known as 'kolo' are served. The floor is also covered with fresh
grass as a sign of hospitality.
Music and dance
Music and dance is
very distinctive and differs from region to region. Instruments like masinko, krar and begena are almost not
known outside of Ethiopia. Cultural restaurants in Addis Ababa are a good way
of becoming familiar with music from all over the country, meanwhile you can enjoy
a wide selection of delicious Ethiopian food.
Calendar and time
left Ethiopia with its own calendar. It consist of 12 months of 30
days and 1 month of 5 days (6 days in a leap year). New year is celebrated on
September 11th (12th in a leap year) and the calendar is between 7 and 8 years
behind the Gregorian calendar. Hence the slogans: 'Enjoy 13 months of sunshine'.
in more countries near to the equator time is measured in 12 hour cycles
starting at sunrise, 6.00 in the morning. 07.00 (7 AM) is 1 o'clock in
Ethiopia, noon is 6 o'clock and 18.00 (6 PM) is 12 o'clock.