Ethiopia's culture

The Ethiopian calendar is Julian, much more similar to the Egyptian Coptic calendar having a year of 13 months, 12 months of thirty days each completed by a thirteenth month of five days or six in a leap year (every fourth year). The Ethiopian calendar is always seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian during September and December and eight years and four months behind during January and August. Ethiopian time is 3 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and is equally divided into day and night, each consisting of 12 hours from sunrise to sunset and vice-versa.

There are more than 80 individual languages and up to 200 dialects in Ethiopia. Most of these languages belong to the Afro-Asiatic (Semitic), Cushitic, Omotic and Nilo-Saharan. Amharic is the national language of Ethiopia. It belongs to the Afro-Asiatic language family which includes Arabic, Hebrew and Assyrian. Amharic is written with a version of the Ge'ez script known as ፊደል (Fidel).

The main religions in Ethiopia are Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Paganism. Ethiopia is a predominantly Christian country and the majority of Christians are Orthodox Tewahedo Christians, who belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. There are a minority of Christians who are Roman Catholic or Protestant. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is headed by a patriarch and is related to the communion of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Armenian and the Syrian Orthodox Church.
Christianity began in the early part of the forth century during King Ezana. Many Ethiopians believe that the Ark of the Covenant still exists and rests in Aksum. It seems likely that the Ark was brought to Ethiopia when Menelik returned to Aksum from his visit to his father, King Solomon, in Jerusalem.
Islam was introduced to Ethiopia in the seventh century when the followers of Prophet Mohammed, including his wife sought refuge in Aksum. The king of Aksum welcomed them, respected their religion and offered them protection. Islam is practiced by approximately 40% of the population, mainly in the south and south-east of the country, mainly Harar and Somali administrative regions.
Judaism, Even though, The Aksumite kingdom had accepted the arrival of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, during the reign of King Ezana in 341 AD, the Ethiopian Jews known as Felashas or Beta Israel refused to accept Christianity and continued to practice their Old Testament (Jewish) faith which they still do today. The Felashas (Beta Israel or Ethiopian Jews) were concentrated in Northwest Ethiopia, mainly, in the northern province of Gonder and west of Tigray province.
Paganism or indigenous religious beliefs are widely practiced in Gambella, Southern Peoples' State, Oromia administrative regions. These regions also contain considerable animist communities.

Ethiopian cuisine characteristically consists of spicy vegetable, variety of meat and fish dishes, usually in the form of wot, a thick stew, served atop Injera. Injera, is a flat bread which is about 50 centimeters in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour, a fine grain unique to Ethiopia. Ethiopian dishes are prepared with a distinctive variety of unique spices for an unforgettably striking dimension to exotic cookery. Ethiopians eat with their right hands, using pieces of injera to pick up bites of entrées and side dishes. We eat all together in one big dish.

Coffee ceremony, The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is an important part of Ethiopian culture. The lengthy Ethiopian coffee ceremony involves processing the raw, unwashed coffee beans into finished cups of coffee. It involves roasting coffee beans and preparing boiled coffee. The ground coffee is slowly stirred into the black clay coffee pot locally known as 'jebena', which is round at the bottom with a straw lid. The coffee ceremony is considered to be the most important social occasion in many villages and it is a sign of respect and friendship to be invited to a coffee ceremony. Guests at a ceremony may discuss topics such as politics, community and gossip.
The origin of coffee is in Ethiopia, in the region of Keffa. According to national folklore, the origin of coffee is firmly rooted in Ethiopia's history. Their most popular legend concerns the goat herder from Keffa, where the plants still grow wild in the forest hills. After discovering his goats to be excited, almost dancing on their hind legs, he noticed a few mangled branches of the coffee plant which was hung with bright red berries. He tried the berries himself and rushed home to his wife who told him that he must tell the monks. The monks tossed the sinful drug into the flames, an action soon to be followed by the smell we are all so familiar with now. They crushed the beans, raked them out of the fire, and distilled the stimulating substance in boiling water. Within minutes the monastery filled with the heavenly aroma of roasting beans, and the other monks gathered to investigate. After sitting up all night, they found a renewed energy to their holy devotions. The rest, as they say, is history.

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