As an effortless kaleidoscope of sounds, flavours and textures, Ethiopia brings different ethnic groups together, all the while remaining true to their own identity.
Ethiopia was born from the seamless blend of drastically different cultures. From African to Middle Eastern to Italian and South-East Asian influences, this country is one-of-a-kind in terms of culture and mind-set. As such, a plethora of different languages are spoken in this country, the most predominant ones being Oromo, Amharic, Somali and Tigrinya. Amharic is the official working language in Ethiopia. The relationship with Italy, though quite tumultuous at the time, still plays an important role in society today. An example of this is in the license plates for diplomatic cars. Number 1 is Italy, which truly illustrates the privileged relationship between both countries. Due to the considerable number of influences in this country, there is no single religion present; both the Islamic and Christian faith coexist peacefully. As such, holidays from both faiths are recognized. Ethiopia is a federal parliamentary republic, meaning that the Prime Minister is the head of government.
If Ethiopia were to be summarized in five words or less, it would be “diamond in the rough”. The beauty and joy that inhabit this country make it truly unique and one-of-a-kind.
Cotton is one of the major crops in Ethiopia, due to the abundance of land and stellar growing conditions. As such, weaving plays an important role in the country’s technique arsenal. For centuries, Ethiopian artisans have been spinning cotton and weaving it into beautiful, unique pieces. Today, this ancient knowledge is combined with modern designs to truly create remarkable products that bear the strong history and evolution of techniques and crafts. Both men and women collaborate to create these pieces, and they are entirely made by hand! After the cotton is harvested, women traditionally spin it into yard, using techniques passed on from mother to daughter, and dye the thread with organic dyes. It is then handwoven on a loom by men, using techniques passed on by their fathers before them.
As such, this collaboration to bring forth beauty and wonder has been tremendously effective. Entire communities are brought to life through the confection of handwoven textiles and these products are meant to be shared with the world.
Ethiopia is an extremely diverse country with a plethora of different languages and ethnic background, and yet, there is such a strong sense of Ethiopian identity. Indeed, there are more than seventy different languages spoken in this country, with Amharic being the language for communication in most parts of the country as well as by the government. There is a surprising difference between the spoken languages and the language of education; English is used as the language of education from secondary school upwards. As such, Ethiopians speak two to three languages: their tribal language, Amharic and English. Ethiopians are very strong and independent, it is one of only two nations to have never been occupied. Their uniqueness also relies in their history and customs.
They use their own alphabet, the oldest fossil of a skeleton was discovered there and Abebe Bikila was the first African to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games. Ethiopia is therefore a country that will never cease to amaze us, from its beauty to its people.
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