Last summer was very exciting as we took twenty Nigerian school children and five adults on a culture discovery tour of three East African nations.
August 14th 2017 on board Ethiopian airlines, we left Lagos for Addis Ababa.The flight lasted for 6 hours and when we got off,we experienced a weather shock.This country was much colder than Nigeria at the time.Within an hour we got through the airport protocols and headed to Heyday Hotel,where we would be staying for the next four days.
Addis Ababa turned out to be characterized with both traditional and modern architecture,cuisine and culture.
CULTURE & CUISINE
Within the first day we found out with surprise that Ethiopia was behind in comparison with the Gregorian calendar by several years.They also have their own unique alphabets.The never colonized African nation as at the scramble period by Europeans.
When we visited their museum it was obvious to see that this people are very simple and original in their living attitudes.A coffee country with much respect to their coffee beans as celebrated by families as part of their tradition(coffee ceremony). Their women are clad in shema.a cotton cloth of about 90 cm wide woven in long strips and sewn together.It may carry shiny threads and ornaments with patterns.
Men wear pants and a knee-length shirt with a white collar, and perhaps a sweater. They also frequently wear knee-high socks. Men as well as women wear shawls, the netela. The shawls are worn in a different style for different occasions.
When going to church, women cover their hair with them and pull the upper ends of the shawl about their shoulders reproducing a cross (meskelya), with the shiny threads appearing at the edge. Elderly women will wear a sash on a day-to-day basis, while other women only wear a sash also called a netela while attending church.About 62% of the population adhere to Christianity, which is Ethiopia’s main religion. About 30-35% of the population are Muslim, with other religions covering another 4-5%.In dressing you cannot distinguish as both muslim and christian women wear shash,made from shama and kuta, a gauze -like white fabrics as a cloth tied around the neck.
During funerals, the shawl is worn so the shiny threads appear at the bottom (madegdeg). Women’s dresses are called habesha kemis, and are often made from the shemma cloth. The dresses are usually white with some color above the lower hem. Bracelets and necklaces of silver or gold are worn on arms and feet to complete the look. A variety of designer dinner dresses combining traditional fabric with modern style are now worn by some ladies in the cities.
These traditional clothes are still worn on a day-to-day-basis in the countryside. In cities and towns, western clothes are popular. However, on special occasions such as New Year (Enkutatash), Christmas (Genna) or weddings, some wear traditional clothes.
The Ethiopian cuisine consists of various vegetable or meat side dishes and entrees, often prepared as a wat or thick stew. One or more servings of wat are placed upon a piece of injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour. One does not eat with utensils, but instead uses injera (always with the right hand) to scoop up the entrees and side dishes. Traditional Ethiopian food does not use any pork or seafood (aside from fish), as most Ethiopians have historically adhered to Islam, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, or Judaism, all of which prohibit eating pork. Additionally, throughout a given year, Orthodox Christians observe numerous fasts (such as Lent), during which food is prepared without any meat or dairy products. Another dish served in Ethiopia is Doro wat, which is chicken stew with hard boiled eggs.
English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is the medium of instruction in secondary schools. Amharic was the language of primary school instruction, but has been replaced in many areas by regional languages such as Oromiffa, Somali or Tigrinya. While all languages enjoy equal state recognition in the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia, Amharic is recognized as the official working language of the Federal Government. The various regions of Ethiopia are free to determine their own working languages, with Oromiffa, Somali and Tigrinya recognized as official working languages in their respective regions.
Ethiopia houses the ultra modern high rise building donated by Chinese as African union headquarters at Addis Abbaba.The pretigious Ethiopian airline factory among other places.
- Ethiopia: 3000 years of History,Art and Architecture by Allan Bott