Ethiopia and its folks

Ethiopia is actually a Land of discovery – good and beautiful, secretive, mysterious and extraordinary. Above all things, it is a country of nice antiquity, with a tradition and traditions courting back more than 3,000 years. The traveler in Ethiopia makes a journey by time, transported by stunning monuments and the ruins of edifices built lengthy centuries ago.

Ethiopia, like many other African countries, is a multi-ethnic state. Many distinctions have been blurred by intermarriage over time but many also remain. The differences could also be observed in the number of languages spoken – an astonishing eighty three, falling into 4 essential language groups: Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic and Nilo-Saharan. There are 200 totally different dialects.

Concerning the country’s nations and nationalities, which is estimated to be over 90 million, the number of ethnic Oromo accounts about 34.5 % while Amhara (Amara) is 26.9%, Somali (Somalie) 6.2 %, Tigray (Tigrigna) 6.1%, Sidama 4%, Gurage 2.5%, Welaita 2.3%, Hadiya 1.7%, Afar (Affar) 1.7%, Gamo 1.5%, Gedeo 1.three%, different 11.3% (2007 Census).

The Semitic languages of Ethiopia are associated to both Hebrew and Arabic, and derive from Ge’ez, the ecclesiastical language.

The precept Semitic language spoken in the north-western and central part of the nation is Amharic, which can also be the official language of the modern state. Other fundamental languages are Tigrigna, Guraginya, Adarinya, Afan Oromo, Somalinya, Sidaminya, Afarinya, Gumuz, Berta and Anuak.

The Tigrigna- and Amharic-talking individuals of the north and centre of the nation are primarily agriculturalists, tilling the soil with ox-drawn ploughs and rising teff (an area millet), wheat, barley, maize and sorghum. Essentially the most southerly of the Semitic speakers, the Gurage, are additionally farmers and herders, but many are also craftsmen. The Gurage develop enset, ‘false banana’, whose root, stem and leaf stalks provide a carbohydrate which, after lengthy preparation, will be made into porridge or unleavened bread.

The Cushitic Oromo, formerly nomadic pastoralists, are now mainly engaged in agriculture and, in the more arid areas, cattle-breeding. The Somali, also pastoral nomads, forge a dwelling in scorching and arid bush country, while the Afar, semi-nomadic pastoralists and fishermen, are the one individuals who can survive within the hostile setting of the Danakil Depression. Living near the Omo River are the Mursi, effectively-known for the massive clay discs that the women wear inserted in a slit in their lower lips.

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

The Muslims of Harar, by contrast, put on very colourful dress, the lads in shortish trousers and a coloured wrap and the women in fine dresses of red, purple and black. The lowland Somali and Afar put on long, brightly coloured cotton wraps, and the Oromo and Bale persons are to be seen within the bead-decorated leather clothes that reflect their economic system, which is based on livestock. Costumes to some extent reflect the climates where the totally different groups live – highlanders, as an example, -use heavy cloth capes and wraparound blankets to combat the night time chill. In the warmth of the lowland plains, light cotton cloths are all that is required by women and men alike.

Traditional dress, although usually now supplanted by Western apparel, should still be seen all through a lot of the nationside. Nationwide dress is usually worn for festivals, when streets and assembly-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 type of dress is discovered among the Oromo horsemen of the central highlands, who, on ceremonial days equivalent to Maskal, attire themselves in lions’ manes or baboon-skin headdresses and, carrying hippo-hide spears and shields, experience right down to the main metropolis squares to take part in the parades.

Ethiopians are justifiably proud of the range of their traditional costumes. The obvious identification of the different groups is within the jewellery, the hair types and the embroidery of the dresses. The women of Amhara and Tigray put on dozens of plaits (sheruba), tightly braided to the head and billowing out on the shoulders. The women of Harar half their hair within the middle and make a bun behind every ear. Hamer, Geleb, Bume and Karo males kind a ridge of plaited hair and clay to hold their feathered headwear in place. Arsi girls have fringes and quick, bobbed hair. Bale women have the same, but cover it with a black headcloth, while young children usually have their heads shaved.

Jewellery 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 additionally worn.