10 Interesting Facts About Ethiopia
10 Interesting Facts About Ethiopia
Ethiopia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and this is why it’s one of Africa’s most famous travel destinations.
Of course, the country is also known for its difficult past, having only escaped war 15 years ago. But, Ethiopia has managed to quickly recover and now has one of the fastest-growing economies on the continent.
What truly makes this country unique is the fact that it’s home to a diverse range of cultures and landscapes, as well as a rich history that stretches as far back as the beginning of humanity itself! If you’re still on the fence about visiting Ethiopia; don’t be!
Check out the following fun and interesting facts about Ethiopia and I assure you that you’ll be booking a trip there afterward.
- A Year Has 13 Months
While most countries and cultures follow the standard Gregorian calendar concept of time, Ethiopia does something completely different, and that’s to follow a lunar calendar that consists of 13 months out of the year.
This is just one of the many ways in which Ethiopians continue to set the trend and play by their own rules.
Plus, this is a great way to back one of the country’s well-known marketing slogans which say that Ethiopia boasts “13 months of sunshine.”
- Different Clock
One of the most mind-blowing facts about Ethiopia is the fact that Ethiopians have also been shown to follow a different daytime hourly schedule as well.
Their philosophy is based on starting the day when the sun actually comes out to avoid confusion. This means that sunrise is actually at 1 o’clock while sunset is at 12.
Only then does the 12-hour night clock take effect. That’s why it’s important when traveling to Ethiopia to double-check bus times and things like that because Ethiopians are quite literally on a different clock.
- Never Been Colonized
This has to be one of the most interesting facts about Ethiopia. The fact that the country has never been colonized.
Yep, you heard that right. Ethiopia is the only African country that managed to successfully fend off colonization. Not that Europeans didn’t try. Italy placed Ethiopia under military occupation for six years starting in 1935.
But, Ethiopians never stopped fighting, and after the Italians had spent years and invested millions into the country’s infrastructural development, they eventually had to let up and leave.
- Many Festivals
Ethiopians are also known for having a spirit of celebration, a fact which is exemplified by the myriad of festivals that they have all year round.
For instance, you have the three-day Timket festival, which is an annual event that celebrates the day on which Jesus Christ was baptized on the River Jordan.
To celebrate, local priests move from church to church, collecting Tabos which are then taken to the nearest water source to commemorate the baptism by performing a mass baptism for new adherents or those who’ve come of age.
This event attracts thousands of locals who all honor the “all-white” dress code with colorful ceremonial robe patterns and priestly velvet umbrellas with sequins.
- The Origin of the Rastafarian Movement
Most people assume that the Rastafarian movement has its origins in Jamaica but its roots are actually in Ethiopia.
You see, “ras” is an Amharic word that means “chief” or “leader” and “tafari” is the first name of Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie the First.
That’s why the Rastafarian movement considers Ethiopia its spiritual homeland and uses the same colors as the Ethiopian flag.
- Birthplace of Coffee
There’s no shortage of coffee addicts in the world today but most of them don’t know that java actually originates from Ethiopia, NOT Italy.
Apparently, an ancient goat herder noticed that his flock enjoyed munching on a particular bush and decided to try it. and that’s how coffee was discovered!
- Could Be the Place Where We All Came From
There are certain archeological findings that seem to suggest that the Afar region in Ethiopia is where human life began.
This is where the specimen known as Lucy, a 3.2-million-year old hominid skeleton, was discovered by researchers Tim D. White and Donald Johanson in 1972.
Not many years after that, researchers discovered an even older specimen that seems to have been around for more than 4 million years in the same region!
- Birthplace of Abebe Bikila
Ethiopian athlete Abebe Bikila made history in the year 1960 by becoming the first black African to take home the Olympic gold medal and all while running barefoot!
Bikila proved four years later that his win wasn’t a fluke by taking home the gold medal once again at the Tokyo Olympics and setting a record as the first person to consecutively win the gold medal two times in a row.
The most astonishing aspect of his journey is the fact that when interviewers asked him if he was tired he replied that could run another 10 kilometers!
- Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa isn’t only the largest city in Ethiopia but it’s also the fourth-highest capital city in the world, standing at an altitude of 2,450 meters.
Plus, the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union are located there.
But, one of the most interesting facts about Ethiopia is the fact that the name of this city literally means “New Flower” in Amharic.
- Diverse Food
Ethiopian food is famous the world over for its unique diversity of flavors, colors, and textures. It’s also a vegetarian’s dream and that’s why it’s gaining worldwide popularity.
Of course, we have Orthodox Christianity to thank for Ethiopia’s delicious cuisine, as it’s the religion that’s most widely followed in the country and requires its adherents to follow a strict vegetarian diet.
So, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, then you’ll love Ethiopia because there’s no shortage of bountiful and delicious veggie food available for you on every street corner, from the swankiest restaurants to humble eateries and street vendors.