Ethiopia is...

  • home to 85.2 million people (2nd most populous in Africa)
  • young! (43% of it's population is 14 years old or younger)
  • about twice the size of Texas
  • home to speakers of more than 80 languages and 200 dialects (Amharic is the official language)
  • oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world - at least 2,000 years
  • the birthplace of coffee (see below)
  • UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Florence, KY, during Standard Time)
  • 15 degrees north of the Equator

Capital:  Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa means "New Flower."  It is a beautiful, green city located high in the mountains.  You can see the surrounding mountains in almost every city view.

Life in Ethiopia
Homes are a traditionally a round hut called a Tukul. The floor is dirt, the walls are either sticks and/or mud, and the roof is made out of a long grass called Tef. Families like to use magazines or newspapers as “wallpaper” in their homes.

Food: It's all about the Injera.  Injera is a traditional Ethiopian dish, usually shared among family and friends from the same serving dish.

Birth Place of Coffee
Ethiopians have a very beautiful traditional coffee ceremony. It's unimaginable for most Ethiopians to start a new day with out several cups of coffee. Coffee is the best a family has, and Ethiopian families offer it to honor guests.   The coffee ceremony is the best occasion for a get-together with neighbors and friends. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony might have been created with the discovery of coffee itself in its south western heartland, in a place called “Kaffa” (from which many experts believe the term coffee originated ).

Is this Africa?  The average temperature throughout the year in Ethiopia is 61.  The high altitude has a lot to do with the lovely range in temperatures (from 50-75 degrees).

Ethiopian Alphabet and Numbers

Some helpful Amharic phrases:

Tenastiling    Hello/ How are you?
Caio (borrowed from Italian)  Goodbye
Ow (as in ‘how’)  Yes
Ishi  Okay
Aydellem  No
Amesegenalo  Thank you
 Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet. The Ethiopian Alphabet consists of 33 letters each with 7 characters.  See the lovely Ethiopia script below:

As much as I love languages... this one is intimidating!

Ethiopian Calendar
Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each, and a 13th month of five days and six days during the leap year. The Ethiopian Calendar is almost eight years behind the Gregorian calendar. 
September 11, 2006 – October 10, 2006
October 11, 2006 – November 9, 2006
November 10, 2006 – December 9, 2006
December 10, 2006 – January 7, 2007
January 8, 2007 – February 7, 2007
February 8, 2007 – March 9, 2007
March 10, 2007 – April 8, 2007
April 9, 2007 – May 8, 2007
May 9, 2007 – June 7, 2007
June 8, 2007 – July 7, 2007
July 8, 2007 – August 5, 2007
August 6, 2007 – September 5, 2007
September 6, 2007 – September 10, 2007

 Interesting Tidbits about Ethiopia
  • They claim the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant at a chapel in the holy city of Aksum, which used to be the capital of Ethiopia.
  • Ethiopia has 63 airports. Only 17 of them have a paved runway. :)
  • Often women feed the men with their fingers as a mark of love and devotion to them.
  • Many Ethiopians claim descent from King Solomon of Jerusalem and Makeda, the Queen of Sheba.