Ethiopia Tour and Travel Ethiopian Culture

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Genna Festival at Lalibela
Ethiopia is anchored in an ancient, cultured society. The rich Ethiopian culture of its affluent society is prominent. Its societies comprise a mosaic of over 80 ethnic groups each with its own languages, cultural heritage, crafts and costumes make the country a museum to be frequented.

 Ethiopian Religions in Ethiopia are predominantly Ethiopian Orthodox (or Monophysite Christianity) and Islam. Other religions that are also practiced include Judaism and Animism. The Animist faith is found mainly in southern regions of Ethiopia. Further south in Somali and surrounding areas, Islam is practiced. Christianity is more common in the northern and central parts of Ethiopia, where Judaism and Islam can be found as well.

 Foreign visitors are often intrigued by the promise of ‘Thirteen months of Sunshine’ in most brochures.  Ethiopia steel follows the thirteen -month Coptic calendar, instead of the twelve-month Gregorian calendar used in most parts of the world. Twelve months each consists of thirty days. The other five days of the year make up the thirteenth month. Ethiopia is also seven years and eight months behind that of the Gregorian calendar, so that 2001 only 1994. Twelve public holidays are observed in Ethiopia with the New Year starting in September. Please see unique holidays.

The Lower Omo is home to a remarkable mix of small, contrasting ethnic groups. Their lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any material, culture and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. Both the Surma and the Karo, for example, are experts at body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other's faces, chests, arms, and legs. These designs are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist vying to outdo his fellows.

The people of Ethiopia wear many different types of clothing. The traditional dress of the Christian highland peasantry has traditionally been of white cotton cloth. Since the time of Emperor Tewodros 11 (mid-1800s), men have worn long, jodhpur-like trousers, a tight-fitting shirt and a shamma (loose wrap).

The Muslims of Harar, by contrast, wear very colorful dress, the men in short trousers and a colored wrap and the women in fine dresses of red, purple and black. The lowland Somali and Afar wear long, brightly colored cotton wraps, and the Oromo and Bale people are to be seen in the bead-decorated leather garments that reflect their economy, which is based on livestock. Costumes to some extent reflect the climates where the different groups live - highlanders, for instance, use heavy cloth capes and wraparound blankets to combat the night chill. In the heat of the lowland plains, light cotton cloths are all that is required by men and women alike.

Ethiopian Traditional dress, though often now supplanted by Western attire, may still be seen throughout much  of the countryside. National dress is usually worn for festivals, when streets and meeting-places are transformed into a sea of white as finely woven cotton dresses, wraps decorated with coloured woven borders, and suits are donned. A  distinctive style of dress is found among the Oromo horsemen of the central  highlands, who, on ceremonial days such as Maskal, attire themselves in lions' manes or baboon-skin headdresses and, carrying hippo-hide spears and  shields, ride down to the main city squares to participate in the  parades.

Ethiopians are justifiably proud of the range of their traditional costumes. The most obvious identification of the different groups is in the jewellery, the hair styles and the embroidery of the dresses. The women of Amhara and Tigray wear dozens of plaits (sheruba), tightly braided to the head and billowing out at the shoulders. The women of Harar part their hair in the middle and make a bun behind each ear. Hamer, Geleb, Bume and Karo men form a ridge of plaited hair and clay to hold their feathered headwear in place. Arsi women have fringes and short, bobbed hair. Bale girls have the same, but cover it with a black headcloth, while young children often have their heads shaved.

Jeweler in silver and gold is worn by both Muslims and Christians, often with amber or glass beads incorporated. Heavy brass, copper and ivory bracelets and anklets are also worn.
Ethiopia also has a rich tradition of both secular and religious music, singing and dancing, and these together constitute an important part of Ethiopian cultural life. Singing accompanies many agricultural activities, as well as religious festivals and ceremonies surrounding life's milestones - birth, marriage and death. Travelers also get fascinated with Ethiopian traditional dances that vary as the ethnic groups themselves. Many of these tribes use distinct musical instruments that are unique to the respective cultures and tradition. Participating in these traditional dances and plays has always been a fun for foreign tourist and quite a physical exercise as well!

Traditional Ethiopian Foods, one aspect of the Ethiopian customs follows certain rules and a ritual that signifies sharing, bonds of loyalty and friendship. The traditional way of eating Ethiopian foods is with fingers. Injera, a fermented pancake, is placed on the plate with variety of sauces and dishes around it. A small portion of "Injera" is then torn off and wrapped around a mouthful of the selected dish. For a first time dinner, it’s quite an experience to use fingers. It creates a sense of belongingness to a culture and tradition that stood out 3000 years.

Ethiopian History
Ethiopia’s earliest history is rooted farther north. The ancient town of Axum , which was one of the very first capitals of Semitic culture in northern Ethiopia, was founded about 1000BC and is the first stage in Ethiopia’s  famous ‘historic Route’ . The earliest capital was actually at nearby Yeha. 
>More on Ethiopian History

Nature of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is well endowed with a wide variety of experiences in natural spheres to explore. The country boasts some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery, and features an extraordinary variety of wildlife species, as well as a spectacular variety of plants.

>More on Nature of Ethiopia
Archeology in Ethiopia
Ethiopia offers a greater richness in archaeological finds and historical buildings than any other country in Sub-Saharan Africa (including Sudan).  Ethiopia is well known for its significant fossil bearing beds which have bore some of the oldest and most complete fossil hominids. One well known is Lucy.
>More Archeology in Ethiopia

Top 10 Tours

Historical Tour

10 days |on Flight & Surface
> Historic Route

Cultural Tour

11 days | on surface ( 4 by 4)
> Omo Valley Tribal tour

Historical and Cultural Tour

15 days | On Flight & Surface (4 by 4)
> Historical and Cultural tour

Semien Mountain Trek Tour

9 days | On Flight & Surface (4 by 4)
> Semien Mountain Trekking

Bale Mountain Trek Tour

8 days | On Surface (4 by 4)
> Bale Mountain Trekking Tour

Birding Tour

11 days | On Surface (4 by 4)
> Birding tour

Afar Danakil Depression Tour

10 days | On Surface & Flight
> Danakil Depression tour

Ethiopian Festival Tour

10 days | On Surface & Flight
> Festivals Tours

Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela and Tigray

10 days | On Surface & Flight
> Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela and Tigray

Historical Cultural & Danakil Depression

25 days | On Surface & Flight
> Historical Cultural & Danakil Depression Tour

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