|Ethiopian Month||Gregorian Month||Gregorian Equivalent Dates|
|Meskerem (month 1)||September (month 9)||September 11 – October 10 (begins September 12, during leap years)|
|Tikimt (month 2)||October (month 10)||October 11 – November 9|
|Hidar (month 3)||November (month 11)||November 10 – December 9|
|Tahsas (month 4)||December (month 12)||December 10 – January 8|
|Tir (month 5)||January (month 1)||January 9 – February 7|
|Yakatit (month 6)||Febuary (month 2)||February 8 – March 9|
|Magabit (month 7)||March (month 3)||March 10 – April 8|
|Miyazya (month 8)||April (month 4)||April 9 – May 8|
|Ginbot (month 9)||May (month 5)||May 9 – June 7|
|Sene (month 10)||June (month 6)||June 8 – July 7|
|Hamle (month 11)||July (month 7)||July 8 – August 6|
|Nehasa (month 12)||August (month 8)||August 7 – September 5|
|Pagumiene (month 13)||September 6 – September 10 (ends September 11, during leap years)|
With a history stretching to three millennia back and with different people speaking over 83 languages and 200 dialects, it is no wonder that the mosaic of cultural diversity of Ethiopia is a major attraction and enchantment. Ethiopia is rich medley of people of different religions and customs with distinctive life styles. There are many interesting cultural traditions in Ethiopia including the nomadic culture of the people of the Omo Valley. The life style of the people has hardly changed for centuries. People still dress in animal skins, drink from calabashes and decorate with clay. It is unique, undisturbed, wild and considered to be among the most fascinating in the African continent. Traveling through this area is like traveling thousands of years back in time, providing an insight in to an Africa of a bygone age.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
Conventionally, Ethiopian history began with the visit of queen of Sheba, allegedly from Ethiopia, to Solomon, king of Israel in the tenth century BC: hence the reference to Ethiopia's "3000 years history that we claim so often. Aside from the fact that this association has scarcely any scientific basis, it represents too short a view of the Ethiopia past. Archeological and linguistic research in recent years has made possible and necessary the adoption of a longer and more scientific perspective. The discovery in 1974 of the earliest hominid in the Afar desert, named LUCY can be a very good example. This female ancestor of the human race was dated to 3.5 million years ago. As a proof of its long history Ethiopia has many historical places. Axum is Ethiopia's most ancient city and the site of many remarkable monolithic stone stelae. At Lalibela there are 11 remarkable rock-hewn monolithic churches. The 17th century city of Gondar and the 9th century city of Harar are the other historical attractions. In addition to these there are many age-old churches, monasteries and mosques with rich collection of relic in different parts of Ethiopia. Many colorful festivals are also additional attractions.
The favourite drink of many Ethiopians is bunna (coffee). Bunna is drunk in Ethiopia in a unique and traditional way known as a "coffee ceremony". First the coffee is roasted, then ground and placed in a Jebena (coffee pot) with boiling water. When ready it is then served to people in little cups, up to three times per ceremony. Other locally produced beverages are tella and tej, which are served and drunk on major religious festivals, Saints Days and weddings. Tella and tej are also sold by numerous designated commercial houses all over the country.
Ethiopia is in the tropical zone laying between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. It has three different climate zones according to elevation. Kolla (Tropical zone) - is below 1830 metres in elevation and has an average annual temperature of about 27 degree Celsius with annual rainfall about 510 millimetres. The Danakil Depression (Danakil Desert) is about 125 metres below sea level and the hottest region in Ethiopia where the temperature climbs up to 50 degree Celsius. Woina dega (Subtropical zone) - includes the highlands areas of 1830 - 2440 metres in elevation has an average annual temperature of about 22 degree Celsius with annual rainfall between 510 and 1530 millimetres. Dega (Cool zone) - is above 2440 metres in elevation with an average annual temperature of about 16 degree Celsius with annual rainfall between 1270 and 1280 millimetres.
The Ethiopian national dish is called wat. It is a hot spicy stew accompanied by injera (traditional large spongy pancake made of teff flour and water). Teff is unique to the country and is grown on the Ethiopian highlands. There are many varieties of wat, e.g. chicken, beef, lamb, vegetables, lentils, and ground split peas stewed with hot spice called berbere. Berbere is made of dried red hot pepper, herbs, spices, dried onions, dried garlic and salt ingredients. Wat is served by placing it on top of the injera which is served in a mesob (large basket tray). The food is eaten with fingers by tearing off a piece of injera and dipping it in the wat. Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians do not eat meat and diary products (i.e. egg, butter, milk, and cheese) on Wednesdays and Fridays except the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost, the Fast of the Prophets, the fast of Nineveh, Lent, the Fast of the Apostles and the fast of the Holy Virgin Mary. According to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church belief, the faithful must abstain from eating meat and diary products to attain forgiveness of sins committed during the year, and undergo a rigorous schedule of prayers and atonement. Vegetarian meals such as lentils, ground split peas, grains, fruit, varieties of vegetable stew accompanied by injera and/or bread are only eaten during fasting days. Meat and diary products are only eaten on feasting days i.e. Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and at all other times. Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians, Jews and Muslims do not eat pork as it forbidden by their religious beliefs.
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