Fun Facts about Ethiopia

Ethiopian-flagHave an itching desire to visit Ethiopia? Want to know more about the country? Planning on attending Young Professional’s Taste of Ethiopia on Wednesday? Well here are some fun facts about Ethiopia to get you ready and prepared!

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a small country located in the Horn of Africa. It is only about double the size of Texas with a population of 84,734,262 and is the second most populous nation in Africa and one of the oldest independent ones in the region. The capital is Addis Ababa, which is also the largest city in the country, and the location of parliament and official buildings. Throughout the past decade, their former prime minister Meles Zenawi has strengthened relations with the US, making Ethiopia one of America’s closest African allies.

_54199226_ethiopiaPeople in Ethiopia generally speak Amharic, which is a Semitic language like Arabic and is considered a sacred language to Rastafarians. The word Rastafarian actually comes from the name of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari) who visited Jamaica in 1966 and was generally considered a messianic figure who would bring peace and prosperity in a golden age.

For those of us who love our cup ‘o joe in the morning, we are indebted to Ethiopia as an original birthplace of coffee. Ethiopia is the world’s seventh largest producer of coffee today, and Africa’s top producer. In Ethiopia, as in Arab and Eritrean cultures, there is even a ritualized and ceremonious way of making and drinking coffee.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATraditional Ethiopian homes are called Tukul; round huts with dirt floors and walls built with mud and/or sticks and roofs are made out of a kind of long grass called teff. In modern times, it is fashionable to wallpaper the walls with magazines or newspapers.

In the past two years, Ethiopia has been one of the fastest growing non-oil economies in Africa and has become recognized for its geothermal energy potential. In January, the Bank of Ethiopia announced that it will offer $20 million to expedite the private sector’s energy projects, funded by the World Bank.

Additional fun facts:

– There are 13 months in the Ethiopian calendar

– Traditionally, parents and children do not share a last name. Most children take their father’s first name as their last name

– Ethiopia has 63 airports. Only 17 of them have a paved runway

– Ethiopian television has only one channel

– Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet

– Time in Ethiopia is counted on the opposite side of the clock (6:00 is at our 12:00)


Are you now fascinated by Ethiopian culture? Learn more while enjoying an Ethiopian feast this Wednesday, February 20! Join Young Professionals for Taste of Ethiopia! RSVP now here:

Written By: Noor Hakeem and Ziyu Zhan [YPers]

About UNA-GB

Founded over sixty years ago, the United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNA-GB) is dedicated to building understanding of and support for the ideals and work of the UN among the Greater Boston community. We serve as a resource on the broad agenda of critical global issues addressed by the United Nations and its agencies: peacekeeping, human rights, humanitarian relief, economic development, and education.

Posted on February 16, 2013, in Young Professionals, Young Professionals: "Taste of..." and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Kettianne Cade

    Thank you all of those who attended last month’s Taste of Ethiopia Event! We were very excited to meet new young professionals in the Boston area curious to try Ethiopian cuisine while eager to learn about the east African Country.

    For the Taste of Ethiopia event, we were very fortunate to host the event at Addis Red Sea, a restaurant for authentic Ethiopian cuisine centrally located in Boston’s Back Bay area. The restaurant provided the cultural ambiance and delicious dishes. We would like to thank them for the generous space and the great hospitality!

    The event started with an introduction of our guest speaker Meron. Meron, an Ethiopian native currently residing in Boston, gave an enlightening presentation on the cultural norms and little unknown facts on Ethiopia. She explained to us the meaning behind Ethiopian traditions of eating in the colorful woven basket also known as a ‘Mesob’ used as a table. Meron also described the use of the cloth also known as ‘Shemma’ used in traditional Ethiopian garments. Furthermore we learned that accepting an invitation to drink coffee leads to hours-long tradition of coffee drinking fit more for a ceremony than a quick pastime.

    Ethiopia, the most populated landlocked country is located in the horn of Africa. The country has been in the political eye for the long fought border war with Eritrea which came to end in 2000 despite the fact that Eritrea won independence in 1993. Ethiopia has also been recently becoming the home of thousands of refugees fleeing ongoing strife in neighboring countries such as Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.

    Following the presentation, UNA-GB participants and guests took part in a little trivia testing common knowledge on certain known facts on Ethiopia. Along with great food and cultural exposure, throughout the event, participants were also able to network with other young professionals in the area!

    Did you enjoy the delicious food? Make sure to check out other Ethiopian restaurants in the Boston area such Lucy Ethiopian Café and Blue Nile Restaurant.

    If you weren’t able to get a chance to make this event- our next taste of event will feature Turkish cuisine! Stay tuned for the Taste of Turkey event which will be held in April.

    –Kettianne Cade, UNA-GB volunteer

  2. I like your blog but I don’t think u got all the correct information. Ethiopian TV (ETV) has more than one channels since 2006 or 2007. other than that u got it all right.

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