Articles On Ethiopia Sat, 18 Nov 2017 15:33:20 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Japanese moved by Ethiopian traditional dances

This an acoount of a Japanese lady who has been on a visit to Ethiopia for slightly over a month when Herald people interviewed her. She shared to us her experience during her stay here in the Addis Ababa the excerpt of which follows:

HERALD- Would you, in short, tell us about your life and your background, please?

BERBERICH- My full name is Yuko Berberich from Japan. I was born in February 1955. Previously, I was a classical ballet dancer, the profession which I started when I was only six Years old. When I came here, I was attracted by the traditional dances of Ethiopia which I really love very much.

I am a member of Family World Federation for Peace. I always think about the global family, world peace and world harmony. I came here trying to bring about cultural exchange among the Ethiopian and the Japanese people.


HERALD- Do you have any formal university education?

BERBERICH- Yes, I am a graduate with diploma in Japanese literature. My husband is an American who is now a professor of ethnic musicology in Japan. He is a music analyst by computer who has helped me a lot in my profession.

My previous ballet dance teacher worked for conservatoire ( a ballet dance company in France). After he came back to Japan, I went to his place for almost twenty-five years. He gave me a permit and I have now my own ballet studio.

HERALD- Mrs. Berberich, have you ever been to Ethiopia before or is this your first visit?

BERBERICH- This one is my second visit to Ethiopia. I first came here on an invitation by a friend. During my first visit, when I saw the traditional dance of Ethiopia, my life was completely changed. That is why I came back today for the second time to seriously learn the traditional dance.

HERALD- How were you impressed by the different cultural dances of Ethiopian people and what have you planned to bring the two countries more closely in terms of culture and people’s interaction?

BERBERICH- the first thing I will do when I go back is to introduce this wonderful culture to the Japanese people. I will, by all means, try to persuade them to come and look the actual dance here. I would like to serve as a bridge for the cultural exchange between the Japanese and the Ethiopians people.

Ethiopia is really an amazing country where the modern and the ancient culture exist in harmony. I have never, before, visited this kind of country in the world. Every household I go to, people welcome me with a coffee ceremony which makes me feel that Ethiopia is my home land.

After my first visit here, I went back to Japan and I had already shown the Ethiopian traditional dance which moved the people very much. I have in mind of traveling back to Japan with an Ethiopian cultural troupe and have intended to bring here one Japanese counterpart.

HERALD- You have earlier mentioned family world federation for peace. Can you tell us what it is and what it is and what its function is?

BARBERICH- Family world federation for peace thinks for the world harmony and for the world peace. Their focus is on the family. They advise husband and wife to love and trust each other, too make an ideal, true family. They advise to create a true society, true and dependable country and world at large. Its greatest idea is to create peace and harmony among different religions and cultures and ethnic groups. The organization is in the forefront to create this kind of activity.

The federation has members all over the world and is established in America by former heads of states, dignitary people and founders of different peace movements and non-governmental organizations. The organization signifies that family is where everything starts. So,we need to plant peace, love and unity in the family which goes to the society and to the nation in general. That is what the family world federation for peace is promoting.

HERALD- what is th impression of the Japanese people of Ethiopia?

BERBERICH- the Japanese did not have good impression of Ethiopia. They had been given different information. My mother, used to tell me that there was no food, no drink , no place to sleep and that the people were always starving; but I have now proved that all the information I had was wrong.

HERALD- how do you like the customs of the Ethiopian people?

BERBERICH- the traditional dress(kemis and shemma) is very comfortable and beautiful. It adds beauty to the women. The different hair dressing particularly the plaiting of the hair among ladies is beautiful and eye-catching.

HERALD- have you ever been acquainted with Ethiopian dishes and drinks?

BARBERICH- I love injera (kind of bread) and wat, particularly doro wat ( chicken souce) and Ethiopian ceremonial coffee. I would also like to test tej and tella (traditional beverages). I also like hambasha (bread common among the Tigrians ) very much.

Adapted from : The Ethiopian Herald: 16 November,1997

Articles On Ethiopia Tue, 28 Feb 2012 12:18:53 +0000
The Dynasty in Which King Lalibala Reigned

Near the end of the tenth century CE an Agew (Agau) leader called Yodit (Gudit or Judith) brought the thousand–year predominance of the Aksumite kingship to a conclusion. She conquered their last king and attempted to exterminate the Christian religion. In Abyssinian traditional tales, she is known to be a great annihilator of churches contested only by Ahmed Gran (Grañ) some six centuries later.


By this time, the nation of Aksum (Axum) had seized to control the seaborne commercial network in response to Islamic growth and starting from mid-seventh century the ruling power had migrated down south and by late tenth century had been established south of Tigray in such Agew districts as Lasta, Wag, Angot, and eventually Amhara. The movement included the creation of military territories, which contributed as a central part of the population from which Aksumite ways, Semitic dialect, and Christianity, diffused to the Agew peoples. By the tenth century, a post-aksumite Christian kingship had appeared that ruled the northern highlands from current Eritrea to Shewa (Shoa) and the coast from old Adulis and Zeila in modern Somalia. Military territories were also formed with the Sidama population of the central highlands and they may have been the ancestors of Semitic-speaking such as the Argobba, Gafat, Gurage, and Hareri, although separate settlements of Semitics from south east Arabia is also likely. Amhara in Shewa, during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, appears to be the site of the restoration of Christian expanse. In the long term, this movement can be viewed as a crucial advance in the amalgamation of Abyssinia because the indigenous Agew people, up to this time under the a Semitic serfage, now acquired the upper hand and classes between the rulers and the ruled began to cease.

The Stronghold of the Zagwé era, which occurred from about 1137 to 1270 CE, is one of the most ambiguous in the history of Ethiopia, for there was disappointingly few records found. Archaeology, so abundant for the Aksumite period, has very little to furnish for that of the Zagwé dynasty. Unlike their Aksumite forefathers, they did not produce coins, or create epigraphs, and, due to their distant allocation from the coast, made far less use of imported, dateable, articles.

APRIL2 , 2001

Articles On Ethiopia Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:58:02 +0000

Aksum’s foundation is suggested to be as early as 300 BCE. Very little is known of the time period between the mid-first millennium of BCE to the beginning of Aksum’s flourish, thought to be around the first century CE. There is little in common between the Aksumites and the earlier pre-Aksumite civilizations (Munro-Hay 1991, 4).

The Aksumite kingdom was located in the northern province of Tigray and there it remained the capital of Ethiopia until the seventh century CE. Aksum owes its prosperity to its location. The Blue Nile basin and the Afar depression are both within a close proximity of Aksum. The former is rich of gold and the latter of salt: both materials having a highly important use to the Aksumites. Aksum was also within an accessible distance to the port of Adulis, on the coast of the Red Sea, hence maintaining trade relations with other nations, such as Egypt, India, and Arabia. Aksum’s ‘fertile’ and ‘well-watered’ location produced enough food for its population as well as its exotic animals, such as elephants and rhinoceros (Pankhurst 1998, 22-3).


Aksum inherited a culture highly influenced by South Arabia. The Aksumites' language, Ge'ez, was a modified version of the South Arabian rudiments, with admixtures of Greek and Cushitic tongues already present in the region. Their architectural art was inherited from their South Arabian counters. Some Aksumite artwork contained combinations of Middle Eastern deities.

From its capital on the Tigray Plateau, Aksum was in command of the trade of ivory with Sudan. It also dominated the trade route leading south and the port of Adulis on the Gulf of Zola. Its success depended on resourceful techniques, production of coins, steady migrations of Greco-Roman merchants and ships landing on the port of Adulis. In exchange for Aksum’s goods, traders bid many kinds of cloth, jewelry, metals and steel for weapons.

At its peak, Aksum controlled territories as far as southern Egypt, east to the Gulf of Aden, south to the Omo River, and west to the Cushite Kingdom of Meroe. The South Arabian kingdom of the Himyarites was also under the power of Aksum.

Department of publication: April,05 2012

Articles On Ethiopia Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:49:47 +0000
WEDDING among the Sodo Gurages

Most marriages among the Sodo Gurages are arranged. The parents shape and control the lives of their children, not just up to a certain age, but until the children are married and leave the parental home. They sit as counselors, judges and executors of their children’s interests. They choose, accept or refuse a spouse as they see fit.

Meskel (finding of the true cross) is a grand festival among the Sodo Gurage’s, which is lavishly celebrated and is called Adabna by the local people. Beginning Meskel until the seventh day, girls and boys sing and dance to the greatest of their happiness. It is on this occasion that the boy casts his eyes on the one that cleft his heart and whom he intends to be his future spouse. He follows her ins and outs and searches for her residential area.

On finding out her permanent living quarter, the boys breaks the news to his parents and entreats them to request the girl’s family for her hand. Being so overjoyed, the first step in fulfilling customs and traditions is for the parents of the young man to send the elderly to call on those of the young lady to propose a marriage.

The father of the boy, after fifteen days of the visit by the elderly sets forth with them to the would-be bride’s parents.

With these arrangements, a small party is usually held. On arrival, the guests will first be served with tella (traditional alcoholic drink) which will be followed by kocho, kitfo and ayib (staple food of the Gurages).

After they feast, the elderly will bless the leftover to give it to the young lady along with some butter. After eating her lot, the lady smears her body with butter.

In the presence of the elderly, the bridegroom’s father gives 60 birr as dowry and promises to provide the bride with earrings and necklaces. The bride will have her fingers trimmed for which she is paid 20 birr by the groom’s family.

With these arrangements completed and with the coming closer of the wedding day great preparations will be made on both sides of the family for the feast. Fifteen days before the marriage, the bride will be invited by her parents-in-law where she eats and drinks. And a day before the wedding (usually on Saturday) she will be made to drink kosso (Anthelmintic medicine which is cure for the one who has a tapeworm) after which she will never taste any food until the next Monday. On her wedding day, she wears only under clothes and mantle and is kept behind curtain waiting for the arrival of her bridegroom. At mid- day, with his cloak on and wearing white muslin on his head the groom accompanied by his best men and friends rides on a horse back to his parents-in-law where he and the others will be welcomed with some traditional drinks. No food is served however. Then they go to where the bride is clapping, dancing and ululating to the accompaniment of songs and drum beats.

All these over one of her family carries her out of the house and mounts her on a horse and accompanied by the best man of the groom (both on a horse) and the bridegroom on another, she rides to her new home well announced.

Articles On Ethiopia Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:48:02 +0000
15 centuries of Ethiopian Orthodoxy

Ethiopian Orthodox church is the oldest of all Eastern Christianities (although Armenians would argue it). There are at least three separate bodies of Tawahedo church with their own administrations in Addis Ababa, Jerusalem and North America (also in Jamaica and Europe). Sometimes Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church is called Coptic, which is due to the fact that till the early fifties the head of Ethiopian church was selected in Alexandria, Egypt and this tradition was changed under Haile Sellassie. Before the revolution the numbers of Ethiopian clergy were big, since Orthodoxy is usually very vested in monastic order. They say that during the Red Terror (1975-78) over 200 thousands monks were executed in Ethiopia.

The Orthodox monk is the best expression of the difference between Western and Eastern Christianity. Without too much theology to go through, it could be said that the Orthodoxy (monophisits) believes in one nature of Christ and it is fully divine. That doctrine results in this strong division between two realities -- Man's and God's. An Orthodox believer has to make a more radical choice since there is no middle ground between Hell and Heaven. Selecting God, a monk separates himself from the earthy matters, including social and political aspects of life (which is very different from the history of the Western Christianity which not only played active political role in shaping the fate of Europe, but perhaps was the teacher of all European politics).

The Orthodoxy was and is criticized for its apolitical stand, but the division between the social and divine is a deep-rooted concept, not a matter of strategy and tactics. The single nature of Christ is to emphasize that there are two world based on different priciples. The Orthodox iconography resisted the adaption of the art discoveries in realism, including the third dimension (perspective). The Orthodox painters thought that God's space and time are organized differently from our reality. The famous reversed perspective in icons (when the faraway figures are positioned on foreplan) manifests their understanding that in angelic reality "the far is close and the close is far"...

There are many consequences of this principle of divinity, including the concept of Trinity and even the philosophy of history. The separation of the Western Church and the Orthodoxy is not barely historical (thousand years of Bizantine Empire), it's a theological (I would say philosophical) thought. The Orthodoxy doesn't like the "evolution," which is accepted by the Western mind. There is very little "progress" embeded in Orthodox mentality. According to this viewpoint, we do not change little by little, but the contact with God is radical and asks for a full personal transformation. In a strange way there are similarities between the Orthodoxy and the Protestant Thought, when the Church is your "personal" (not social) institution.

Perhaps, because of the Orthodox attitude, Ethiopian Christianity never had full-scale holy wars and has to tendency to missionary. This Church coexisted with different rulers and regimes, lived next to Muslims and pagans and had no history of reformation or religious wars the Western Christianity went through.

by: Anatoly Antohin, April 18, 1999

He teaches theatre and film at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and direct. And write. He has his graduate degree from Moscow Film Insitute, his wife Esther is a UAF graduate student of Anthropology.

Articles On Ethiopia Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:46:13 +0000
Ethiopia In the BIBLE

Queen of Sheba's Visit to King Solomon

Sheba is believed to have been Queen of Ethiopia and it is through her Ethiopian rulers claim royalty through her. The verses below refer to Sheba's visit to King Solomon in Isreal. The tale is retold in The Second Book of Chronicles, 8:18 (Pankhurst 16):

1 Kings 10, 1-13

[1] And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

[2] And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.


[3] And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.

[4] And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built,

[5] And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.

[6] And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.

[7] Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

[8] Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

[9] Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

[10] And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.

[11] And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.

[12] And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.

[13] And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.

King Solomon

During King Solomon's reign in Israel (974 - 932 BCE), he traded gold with Ophir, which is believed to be a region in Ethiopia.


[26] And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.

[27] And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.

[28] And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

The Word 'Ethiopia' in the Bible

The word Ethiopia appears in the King James Bible version 45 times. When the word Ethiopia is used in the bible, it most of the time refers to all the land south of Egypt:


[13] And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. Num.12

[1] And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.


[9] And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying,


[3] With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.


[9] And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah.

[12] So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.

[13] And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.


[8] Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand.


[16] Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians:


[1] Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)


[9] Then were the king's scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.


[19] The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.


[31] Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.


[4] I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.


[1] Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:


[3] And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;

[4] So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

[5] And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory.


[9] And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,


[3] For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.


[14] Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.


[23] Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.


[7] Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin;

[10] Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die.

[12] And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so.


[16] Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee.


[9] Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.


[10] Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.


[4] And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down.

[5] Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the mingled people, and Chub, and the men of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.

[9] In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid, and great pain shall come upon them, as in the day of Egypt: for, lo, it cometh.


[5] Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:


[43] But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.


[7] Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?


[9] Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers.


[12] Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.


[10] From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.


[2] And to all the governors and captains and lieutenants that were under him, from India unto Ethiopia, of an hundred twenty and seven provinces.


[10] Until ye come beyond Tanis and Memphis, and to all the inhabitants of Egypt, until ye come to the borders of Ethiopia.


[1] The copy of the letters was this: The great king Artexerxes writeth these things to the princes and governours that are under him from India unto Ethiopia in an hundred and seven and twenty provinces.


[1] The great king Artexerxes unto the princes and governors of an hundred and seven and twenty provinces from India unto Ethiopia, and unto all our faithful subjects, greeting.


[27] And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,

By 13 Suns Tours Department of publication April 20 2003

Articles On Ethiopia Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:43:38 +0000
King Lalibela

Lalibela (c.1185-1225) is the most well known and marveled of all the Zagwe kings. He is credited for building the eleven famous rock-hewn churches in his capital city, known originally as Roha but renamed as Lalibela after his death (Prouty and Eugene 115-6). However, it should be stressed that Lalibela wasn’t the first to build rock-hewn churches; churches that date two centuries earlier were constructed in Tigray (Pankhurst 49).

Lalibela’s life is full of legends. It is believed that upon his birth, he was surrounded by a cloud of bees. Hence, his mother gave him the name Lalibela, which means, “the bees recognizes his sovereignty.” Also according to legend, he was commanded by God “to build ten monolithic churches (Henze 51).”


Numerous sites in Lalibela were given biblical names such as a stream called Jordanos and graves called Adam and Jesus Christ. This was an effort by the king to recreate Jerusalem, the Holy City, in his city, for Jerusalem had been captured by Muslims and pilgrimage for Ethiopian Christians had become difficult (Pankhurst 52-3).

The eleven rock-hewn churches are: Bet Medhane Alam, Bet Maryam, Bet Danaghel, Bet Meskel, Bet Mika'el Bet Golgotha, Bet Amanuel, Bet Merkorios, Bet Abba Libanos, Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa’el. Lalibela was buried in Golgotha (Pankhurst 49-52).

By 13 Suns Tours: Department of publication: April 03 , 2012

Articles On Ethiopia Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:41:41 +0000