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BITS OF CULTURE - Ethiopia
 
Languages
Map
Cultural Values
Main Religion & Death Concepts/Rituals
Health Care Values
Diet
Interesting Facts
 

Languages

Official language:
Amharic

Other languages:
Arabic
Tigrinya

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Map



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Cultural Values
  • Family members work as a unit where father or eldest son has the leading role
  • Men are expected to make decisions specially at time of crisis
  • Women are the caregivers
  • People are typically reserved, shy, polite and respectful of authority figures (doctors and nurses)

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Main Religion & Death Concepts/Rituals
  • Coptic Orthodox Christian.
  • Manu Moslems in Eastern region
  • News of death is disclosed to close friends before family is told, so that friends are there for support .
  • Never tell female family members first
  • At time of death loud cries are customary, both from men and women
  • Women may tear their clothes and beat their chests till they become sick with grief
  • Preparing body at the morgue is acceptable; cremation usually is not

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Health Care Values
  • Pregnancy considered dangerous state as fetus can fall prey to evil eye and sorcery, believed to cause miscarriages
  • Ethiopians have 2 theories for diseases, one caused by external factors such as polluted water and spoiled food; the other attributed to God and demonic spirits
  • Genetic defect accepted as will of God
  • Typically resistant to psychiatric treatment
  • Health is obtained by peaceful relationship with supernatural world

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Diet
  • Injera is the mainstay of the Ethiopian diet. This phenomenally bouncy bread is made from the peculiarly Ethiopian teff cereal. The other ubiquitous food is wat, the sauce in which meat and vegetables are cooked - wat comes in a fiery, kay format, or as the milder alicha.
  • Usually eaten with fingers
  • Prefer spicy food
  • 3 meal a day, with breakfast being the lighter meal
  • Coptic Christians do not eat meat or dairy 200 days out of the year


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Interesting Facts
  • Ethiopia included Eritrea until 1993 when conflict divided the country
  • Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been colonized, although it was occupied by the Italians in the 1930s until 1941.
  • Ethiopia claims 5000 years of self-rule and an indigenous Christian Church, the Coptic Church, going back to the 4th century C.E.
    A group of ancient Ethiopians called the Falashas, were Jewish.

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