Ethiopian Culture

About Culture

Ethiopian Historical Significance

When the other African nations are known for being cultural melting pots, there is the Ethiopian culture that represents a divisive approach associated with different ethnic groups. What makes Ethiopian culture so special and interesting lies in the fact that the Ethiopians value their heritage more than anything. Although they respect other cultural values, Ethiopians mostly keep their own culture intact. So, it can be perceived that there is no other place to observe multi-culture rather than a country like Ethiopia.

Interestingly, some traits can be easily found in all the cultures of different ethnic groups in Ethiopia. So, today we will look into the most common aspects of Ethiopian culture.

Common Attire and Gesture in Ethiopia

The basic attire of the Ethiopians is a bit different than the Westerners because they focus more on wearing modest outfits. Whether it is a cultural ritual or a wedding, they will always wrap them modestly.

The general attire of the Ethiopian women includes long flowing shirts that cover shoulders to knees and trousers that cover the entire leg. In some parts of Ethiopia, women do not prefer wearing trousers. However, clothing items like half pants and short tops here are a big no-no.

Men generally wear regular Western attire, such as shirts and trousers. As we mentioned earlier, the country has plenty of ethnic groups, so the dress codes might be a little different according to the tribes and communities.

Gestures of Ethiopian are not very unique. Everyone can find a lot of similarities between universal and Ethiopian gestures, such as, handshake, kiss on cheeks, patting on back, shoulder touch, bow, waves, and more. Most of them represent the same conventional signs and indications.

Religion in Ethiopia

One-third of the Ethiopians are Muslim. The religion of Islam was first established in this region in the 7th century. Also, the country has had a lot of Muslim leaders. In the outlying regions and Eastern lowlands, people are mostly Muslim.

On the other hand, Christianity first arrived in Ethiopia in the 4th century, and then the famous church known as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was established. In old times, the church used to play important roles regarding political, cultural issues, and facts of Ethiopia. The Christian people can be found all over Ethiopia but mostly in the higher lands of Northern Ethiopia.

It is already known that Ethiopia is good at grasping the old culture, so it is certain that some other ancient religions exist in Ethiopia. Many Ethiopians are animalists who pray to ancient African gods and goddesses. Judaism is also present in the country but not very prominent in Ethiopian culture.

Ethiopian Language

There are almost over 80+ languages that exist along with 200 dialects in the Ethiopian language. The most famous languages of the Ethiopians are Amharas, Oromos, and Tigrayans. Interestingly, some words of each language match with others.

However, the official and ‘working language’ in Ethiopia is known as Amharic. Also, finding an English-speaking person is not hard in Ethiopian cities but that is not applicable when it comes to the rural areas. Currently, 86 languages of Ethiopia exist in harmony but more than 14 languages are going to be extinct soon. Most language branches are associated with Semitic language and Cushitic language. At the same time, new languages are being introduced to Ethiopian locals. The number of developing languages is 14 at the time of this writing.

Language teaching in Ethiopia is also a bit different. A few years ago Amharic used to be the learning language of education institutes of Ethiopia but it has changed and been replaced over time by different local languages. The good news for foreigners is that English is being taught in most educational institutes in Ethiopia. So, finding a non-English speaker after 10-15 years might be a challenging task in Ethiopia.

Cultural Rituals in Ethiopia

When it comes to talking about daily life for the Ethiopians, it is pretty simple. They work hard, sleep tight, and love to enjoy social meetings. The major discussions or fun times of the Ethiopian people take place on the dining tables of cafes and houses because they usually take meals together in groups. The country has poverty and wealth, but the majority of Ethiopians live in rural areas.

Tourism in Ethiopia

There are certain cultural and religious rituals that do exist in the land of Ethiopia. The most renowned and exciting one is referred to as ‘Ganna’, which has some long process to fulfill and celebrate. Another most famous ritual is ‘Timkat’ which is a celebration of Christ’s baptism, this ritual usually lasts for a few days. Furthermore, in Muslim Ethiopian culture, they fast during the holy month of Ramadan and celebrate EID day (Muslim holiday).

Collectively, the biggest rituals of Ethiopia are the weddings, which are performed following the rules and regulations of that particular religion. Weddings here are long-planned and they are celebrated as an entire ritual for a whole day.

The experience of seeing places and enjoying the foods of Ethiopia is always good but it gets better when tourists enjoy its local festivals. Everyone finds here a distinct vibe to celebrate festivals because of different dress codes, cultural rituals, and unique activities. For getting around the places, the country has multiple public kinds of transports, including buses, minibusses, and taxis. However, it would be a better idea to take a taxi or bus while traveling late at night.

Ethiopian Cuisine

African cuisines are always unique, but Ethiopian cuisines have a whole new level of experiencing it. Instead of a plate full of rice and steak, most of the meals consist of a large number of vegetables and thick pieces of spicy meats. Each served meal is adequate even for two persons. The typical meals of the Ethiopians may seem simple until the tongue buds get the actual taste of it. Also, some of the best meal preparation methods are still world-secrets. Some famous Ethiopian dishes are Kitfo, Tibs, Beyainatu, and a lot more.