People and Culture of ETHIOPIA
With over 80 different peoples, the cultures of our
communities are prominent in our lifestyle. With traditions going
back to the days of Axum, and a stron religious setting,
celebrations and festivals play an important part in our daily
lives. Our greatest festival is Timket (Epiphany), where tourists
are welcome to celebrate with us. But other festivals such as
Enkutatash (the Ethiopian New Year, in September after the rains).
Maskal, Gena (Christmas), Id and Easter are all glorious
celebrations. In every region you will discover local festivals
and ceremonies where you will be welcomed as an honoured guest.
Remember, when checking any dates, that Ethiopia still retains the
Julian calendar, and we are unique in having thirteen months. Our
traditional calendar remains almost eight years behind the
Gregorian calendar of the West.
The country’s population includes Semitic, Cushitic (Hamitic),
Omotic and Niotic peoples, and a veritable melting pot of ancient
Middle Eastern and African cultures. The population comprises more
than 80 nationalities speaking about 83 languages and several
dialects. The ethnic groups of Oromo, Amhara, Tigre and Sidama are
the largest in that order.