Charming things you should know about Ethiopia before visiting

Spotted in the land of East Africa having over 80 ethnicities surrounding its glorious landscapes; Ethiopia is identified as a land of sacred and sophisticated and extreme sights. Each destination portrays extravaganza of nature and ancient treasures but it’s people who stayed true to their culture and tradition offer its own unique kind of attraction to travelers. Jumia Travel highlights ten funny things to know about Ethiopia so that you can blend in easily with the public enjoying your time in Ethiopia.

  1. Who would not appreciate it when you talk to them in their language? Well, Ethiopians who are very hospitable are just the same. They love your effort to greet them in their local language. Do not get surprised when this instantly makes you their friend. The public likes, respect for one another meet and greet bending down especially to elders as a sign of esteem. In Ethiopia it’s considered as a taboo to greet someone with a hat on, it should be lifted during greetings as a sign of respect to the person greeted.
  1. It is part of Ethiopian culture to show affectionate gesture to people by paying for expenses such as for public transportation, and at restaurants. If you are traveling or dining with an Ethiopian, it’s customary that he/she pays for you so do not fight back because it will be considered as rejection to the affection offered; instead thank and bless them as that is part of this fun tradition.
  1.  When you start a conversation start with selam which directly translated us greetings. It will grant you easy access to favors. Do not forget to include amsegnalhu (thank you) to enter to Ethiopian world of great hospitality. If your friendship grew a little better people will invite you at their home for coffee and Ethiopian meal. This means the person has a high regard and affection to invite you to their home. You will get a taste of this courtesy especially at the regional states of Ethiopia where people are very generous and welcoming.
  1. Although the rest of the world just welcomed 2017; Ethiopian Julian calendar is in 2009. The country also celebrates New Year, Christmas, and Easter in different dates than the global which is following the Gregorian calendar. So do not get confused when people tell you it’s 2009 in Ethiopian calendar, and they are having a holiday on different calendars.
  1.  Everything is different and exciting when you come to Ethiopia. The country measures time from when the sun rises and sets in different numerical measure to time. Sunrise starts the day at 12:00 o’clock in the morning and sets at 12: 00 o’clock in the evening. This means 6:00AM is 12:00 AM and 6:00PM is 12:00PM in Ethiopian time. This may seem confusing but you do not have to follow the local time; most people understand the standardized time count.
  1. Ethiopians are very religious people most of them Christians and Muslim. If you have a different opinion about religion it’s good not to share it because people might be offended by the different comments although they do not become unfriendly.
  1. You might find this one a bit frightening but Ethiopians tend to look a lot at what they admire whether you are local or foreigner. So when people stare at you do not panic, rather take it as a friendly gesture because they are just admiring you in a friendly way.
  1. Almost the entire public is conservative, and takes modest dressing very seriously. Although there is a dressing freedom particularly at the capital city Addis Ababa, be cautious and dress on attires covering most skin.
  1. If you would want the public to fall in love with you dearly, dress in the local cotton dressings. Without realizing it, you will become the darling of the locals who will show you big smiles and thumbs up, admiring your style in the local fashion.
  1. Ethiopians have deeply rooted affection and connection for one another, so when you walk on the streets you might see people hugging or holding hands. Don’t be surprised to find out that either they are family members, best friends or just colleagues who are really close. This bond even goes further when people see you dine alone or just sitting down inside a restaurant; they invite you to join them to share their meal for free.

Truly, Ethiopia has a lot of charming experiences so much so that they will stay in your mind forever. The time in Ethiopia is all about happiness, adventure, and sightseeing taking your travel experience to the next level of excitement.

By Eden Sahle she can be reached at eden.sahle@jumia.com

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