The cultural diversity of Ethiopia

When in Ethiopia, say “salaamno“, smile widely, and be prepared to be welcomed with open arms and hearts by the people of this beautiful country. From the Amhara region to South Omo, from Dallol to Addis Ababa, the cultural diversity of Ethiopia takes shape in age-old festivals and living landscapes. Here are are some of the locals you may meet in this fascinating country.

1

A farming family in Dodola, near the Bale Mountain National Park. Throwing seeds into the air is part of the wheat threshing process, it allows farmers to remove any impurities.

2

I saw this colorfully dressed Kereyu woman with her donkey near Awash National Park.

3

A farmer near Dejen, Amhara.

4

Two friends celebrate Meskel, the Finding of the True Cross, in Addis Ababa’s appropriately named Meskel Square. In September, thousands of people gather to watch the lighting of the demera (a large bonfire).

5

A young boy holds a processional cross during the celebration of Timket in Gondar. Timket celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan and churches parade to the Fasilidades Bath to take part in the overnight ceremonies.

6

All around Ethiopia, you will find women roasting, grinding, and making coffee. Here, a friend’s sister in the small town of Adet, in Amhara, prepares us some of the best coffee in the country before we head out.

7

A young boy from the Hamer tribe in the Southern Omo Valley participates in the ‘Bull Jumping’ ceremony which marks his transition from boyhood to manhood.

8

The Karo are among the few tribes in Ethiopia that use clay to decorate their bodies with patterns. Only young boys decorate their bodies.

9

An older woman from the Mursi tribe in South Omo wears a headdress made from the tusk of a warthog. The Mursi are known are fierce warriors.

10

A young Afar man works to bring tourists to Dallol, where landscapes of bright colors are formed by salt and hydrothermal vents from deep underground. This man’s family used to work in salt mines.

11

A salt mine worker in the oppressively hot Denakil Depression uses a tool to cut up blocks of salt that will be transported by traders to larger towns via the famous camel caravans.

12

A farmer woman wears the traditional scarf tied around her waist associated mostly with the region called Gojjam, in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.

13

A street vendor in Mekele, sells chickens ahead of Christmas Day, also known as Lidet. Orthodox Christians often fast by avoiding meat for a number of weeks before holidays like Christmas and Easter. They celebrate by eating a spicy chicken stew called ‘doro wot’ that is often thought to be their national dish.

14

This Tigranian farmer invited us to celebrate Christmas near the Gheralta range by cooking us some delicious food at her home at the base of one of the most famous rock-hewn churches.

15

A woman in the walled city of Harar, which is predominantly Muslim, pauses to chat with some clerks at a hardware store while maintaining a perfect balance of cooking oil on her head.

16

A young waitress take a pause during a busy time at a local restaurant in a small town in the Afar region.