Ethiopia's Religious Practices

Jan 30, 2015

Today, I did some research on cultural practices. I decided to specifically do some research on Ethiopian culture, since I get told that I look Ethiopian a lot. I was browsing on the web, clicking through different sites, and what I found was very interesting.

One thing I found interesting was that they wear clothes that are a lot different from what we wear. Ethiopian men and women wear a traditional costume named Gabbi or Netella. These costumes are made from woven cotton,and, while similar to some items we might own in our closet, are distinct by their various designs and embroidery. Women usually wear a dress with many different designs and decorations, and these dresses are called “Kemis”.

Another interesting practice I found was that the religious group Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians do not eat meat and dairy products on Wednesdays and Fridays, except the 50 days between holidays such as Easter, Pentecost, and the fast of the Holy Virgin Mary So, I ask, why don’t these Christians choose not to eat meat and dairy on Wednesday and Friday? They don’t eat meat and dairy on these days because they stay away from it to get forgiveness of their sins that they committed throughout the year.

One more fact: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians perform exorcisms*. Ethiopian priests will perform exorcisms on those who are believed to have been possessed by demons or Buda*. In a 2010 research study, 74% of Ethiopians said that they have experienced an exorcism. It is believed that artisans in metalworking had the power of the evil eye*.

After all this research, I became really interested in the history of Ethiopia, and learning more about their cultural practices. Even though I may think that their practices are very different from practices here, they may actually be more similar than I think. Maybe one day I’ll take a trip there and meet some of my “long lost family”!

*Exorcism: the expulsion or attempted expulsion of an evil spirit from a person or place
*Buda: the power of the evil eye and the ability to change into a hyena
*Evil Eye: curse believed to be cast by a malevolent glare, usually given to a person when they are unaware.


Super Interesting!

jforbes's picture
Submitted by jforbes on Tue, 2015-02-03 14:17.


I learned a lot from reading this post! Isn't it amazing how many different traditions people have? I'm especially interested in what you wrote about exorcism -- 74% of Ethiopians have performed one! This makes me think that every culture has a way of naming and trying to get rid of "bad things" -- be they thoughts, feelings, or superstitions.