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Traditional Dance & Musical

Traditional musical instruments in widespread use include the massinko, a one-stringed violin played with a bow; the krar, a six-stringed lyre, played with the fingers or a plectrum; the washint, a simple flute; and three types of drum – the negarit (kettledrum), played with sticks, the kebero, played with the hands, and thashenda_laides_tigraie atamo, tapped with the fingers or palm. Other instruments include the begena, a huge, multi-stringed lyre often referred to as the Harp of David; the tsinatseil, or sistrum, which is used in church music; the meleket, a long trumpet without fingerholes, and the embilta, a large, simple, one-note flute used on ceremonial occasions.

Though often simply made, the massinko can, in the hands of an expert musician, produces a wide variety of melodies. It is often played by wandering minstrels,particularly near eating houses, where the musicians entertain the diners. The rousing rhythms of the negarit were used in times gone by to accompany important proclamations, and chiefs on the march would be preceded by as many as 30 men, each beating a negarit carried on a donkey.
The tiny atamo is most frequently played at weddings and festivals, setting the rhythmic beat of folk songs and dances. Modern-style bands have come into existence in recent decades, and there are noted Ethiopian jazz musicians.

Traditional food

The Ethiopian national dish is called wat. It is a hot spicy stew accompanied by injera (traditional large spongy pancake made of teff flour and water). Teff is unique to the country and is grown on the

11374231_983468685050974_146129789_nEthiopian highlands. There are many varieties of wat, e.g. chicken, beef, lamb,
vegetables, lentils, and ground split peas stewed with hot spice called berbere.

Ingera is made from a cereal grain that is unique known as Tef. Though tefs is unique to Ethiopia it is diverse in color and habitat. Tef is a member of the grass genus Eragrostis or lovegrass. Tef will grow in many areas it is not an easy crop to farm. One problem in particular is that the weight of the grain bends the stem to the ground.

Traditional dress and clothing

Traditional dress, though often now supplanted by Western attire, may still be seen throughout much of the countryside. National dress is usually worn for festivals, when streets and meeting-places are transformed into a sea of white as finely woven cotton dresses, wraps decorated with coloured woven borders, and suits are donned.
A distinctive style of dress is found among the Oromo horsemen of the central highlands, who, on ceremonial days such as Maskal, attire themselves in lions manes or baboon-skin headdresses and, carrying hippo-hide spears and shields, ride down to the main city squares to participate i060a854b4156014bc0cd718e911e133cn the parades.

Ethiopians are justifiably proud of the range of their traditional costumes. The most obvious identification of the different groups is in the jewellery, the hair styles and the embroidery of the dresses. The women of Amhara and Tigray wear dozens of plaits (sheruba), tightly braided to the head and billowing out at the shoulders. The women of Harar part their hair in the middle and make a bun behind each ear. Hamer, Geleb, Bume and Karo men form a ridge of plaited hair and clay to hold their feathered headwear in place.
Arsi women have fringes and short, bobbed hair. Bale girls have the same, but cover it with a black headcloth, while young children often have their heads shaved.

Traditional Musical Instruments

Traditional musical instruments in widespread use include the massinko, a one-stringed violin played with a bow; the krar, a six-stringed lyre, played with the fingers or a plectrum; the washint, a simple flute; and three types of drum – the negarit (kettledrum), played with sticks, the kebero, played with the hands, and the atamo, tapped with the fingers or palm. Other instruments include the begena, a huge, multi-stringed lyre often referred to as the Harp of David; the tsinatseil, or sistrum, which is used in church music; the meleket, a long trumpet without fingerholes, and the embilta, a large, simple, one-note flute used on ceremonial occasions.

Though often simply made, the massfce8bc90d8607295366c0b8ad774b8b7inko can, in the hands of an expert musician, produces a wide variety of melodies. It is often played by wandering minstrels,particularly near eating houses, where the musicians entertain the diners. The rousing rhythms of the negarit were used in times gone by to accompany important proclamations, and chiefs on the march would be preceded by as many as 30 men, each beating a negarit carried on a donkey. The tiny atamo is most frequently played at weddings and festivals, setting the rhythmic beat of folk songs and dances. Modern-style bands have come into existence in recent decades, and there are noted Ethiopian jazz musicians.

Traditional Coffee

Coffee from Sidamo in the south has an unusual flavour and is very popular, especially the beans known as Yirgacheffes. In many ways Ethiopian coffee is unique, having neither excessive pungency nor the acidity of the Kenyan brands. It is closest in character to the Mocha coffee of the Yemen, with which it supposedly shares a common origin, and it cannot be high roasted or its character is destroyed.

9367d14714c8055eff48298a0163e43fThe best Ethiopian coffee may be compared with the finest coffee in the world, and premium washed arabica beans fetch high prices on the world market. No visit to Ethiopia, is complete without participating in the elaborate coffee ceremony that is Ethiopias traditional form of hospitality. Invariably conducted by a beautiful young girl in traditional Ethiopian costume, the ceremonial apparatus is arranged upon a bed of long grasses.

The green beans are roasted in a pan over a charcoal brazier, the rich aroma of coffee mingling with the heady smell of incense that is always burned during the ceremony. The beans are then pounded with a pestle and mortar, and the ground coffee then brewed in a black pot with a narrow spout.

Holydays
New Years Day
(Julian calendar) 1January
Genna
Ethiopian Christmas: birth of Christ) 7 January
Timkat
Ethiopian Epiphany: baptism of Christ) 19 January

Adwa Day
(commemorates the victory by Menelik II over Italy in 1896) 2 March
Patriots Day
(celebrates end of Italian occupation in 1941) 6 April
International Labour Day
1 May
Ethiopian Good Friday
May (variable)
Fasika
(Ethiopian Easter Sunday) May (variable)

Idd al Fitr
(end of month of fasting for Ramadan) May (variable)
Idd al Adha
August (variable)
Buhe
21 August

Enkutatash
(Ethiopian New Year) 11 September