Surprising facts about Ethiopia
Ethiopia is a country in the East African region with an estimated population of over 100 million people. It has one of the fastest growing economies, which includes agriculture and manufacturing industries. Ethiopia also boasts some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, including Mount Erta Ale and Lake Tana.
It is considered to be one of 11 global hotspots for economic growth. Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, is home to 2.8 million people and has experienced rapid urbanization since 2000. Outside of this bustling metropolitan area are rural communities that depend heavily on agriculture as their livelihoods- 65% of Ethiopians live in rural areas as subsistence farmers or pastoralists.
Ethiopia is home to the Great Rift Valley, one of the most important and valuable natural wonders in the world. The country’s fertile land has made it a center for agriculture since ancient times. It is also famous for its ethnic diversity; with more than 80 languages spoken by different communities. Ethiopia contains a wealth of cultural heritage, with many archaeological sites containing pre-Christian rock art paintings that date back as far as 6,000 years ago!
Ethiopia is a beautiful country. It has a diverse culture and many interesting things to see and do. But did you know that Ethiopia has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies? Or that it is home to the African Union headquarters? Let’s explore some fun facts about Ethiopia!
Fascinating Facts about Ethiopia 2021
Here are 10 Surprising Facts about Ethiopia:
- There are Thirteen months to the year
- Ethiopian time is different
- Complete independence
- A nation of festivals
- The birthplace of the Rastafarian movement
- cup of coffee origin
- The oldest people in the world
- Abebe Bikila
- Addis Ababa
- Ethiopia for vegetarians
1. Thirteen months to the year
This might be a surprise to some people, but Ethiopia is the only African country that doesn’t use the Gregorian calendar. The Ethiopian calendar has 13 months, with each month having 30 days.
– What happens if there are more than three years in one cycle?
The answer is that they will have an extra seven day week at the end of every three year cycle.
– What does this mean for holidays?
The Ethiopian calendar is different from the Gregorian, but there are still some major holidays that you might be familiar with like Christmas or Easter. They just happen on a different day!
Christmas Day: September 11th (Gregorian) January 12th (Ethiopian)
Easter Sunday: April 16th (Gregorian) May 21st (Ethiopian)
Halloween: June 13th( Gregorian)/October 23rd(Ethiopian ) December 26th/January 31st(Ethiopian).
2. Ethiopian time
Ethiopian time is measured in hours, minutes, and seconds.
Did you know Ethiopian hours of the day are measured in a different way? Sunrise is considered to be 1 o’clock and sunset 12. This makes it less confusing because their clocks start when the days do, unlike ours where our clock starts at midnight. When buying bus tickets etc., make sure you ask if departure time is according to Western or Eastern time as they use two different sets for measuring minutes/hours!
3. Complete independence
Ethiopia is a country whose independence and sovereignty has been preserved for centuries. During the occupation, they refused to capitulate or succumb to any of Italy’s demands. They endured armed conflict from 1935-1941 when Italy tried colonizing Ethiopia again with no success due to strong opposition efforts by Ethiopian forces in exile that never ceased battling against their enemy even after six years passed since military invasion began.
In 1923, Eritrea became a colony of Italy. It was conquered by Mussolini’s forces in 1935 and eventually made into an Italian province called “Africa Orientale Italiana” or AOI.
Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I resisted the Italians for as long as he could but on May 19th 1936, Ethiopia officially surrendered to the Fascists.
On June 30th 1940 during WWII Britain invaded Ethiopia from Sudan with little resistance since this area has been occupied by Italy until then.
4. A nation of festivals
Ethiopia has always been a land of festivals and celebrations. In Ethiopia, there are two types of holidays: religious and secular.
A popular festival in Ethiopia is Timket which takes place every year on January 27th to celebrate the Baptism of Jesus Christ (Timkat) that was carried out by St. Mary at the River Jordan around 32 CE. Sometimes this celebration coincides with Epiphany (January 19).
Another Ethiopian holiday is Meskel or ‘The Feast of Flowers’ held each September 22nd as an opportunity for people to give thanks for their blessings – it typically includes traditional food delicacies such as ful medames, shiro wat and doro wit tibs before ending with festive dancing until dawn.
5. The birthplace of the Rastafarian movement
The Rastafarian movement was founded in Jamaica and culminated with the coronation of Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia. The followers believe that he is God incarnate and their Savior who will lead them into righteousness, peace, freedom from oppression during the end times.
The Rastafarian movement is the spiritual homeland of Ethiopia, not Jamaica. The colors on the Ethiopian flag are evidence that Emperor Haile Selassie I was an incarnation of God and their ultimate goal in life is to return home to Zion which they believe can be found through returning back into a state where they are one with Jah or tatty ras Tafari Makonnen who was born Ras-Tafa-Rijal from royal bloodline descendants representing Queen Sheba as well.
6. The first cup of coffee
The first cup of coffee was drunk in 1683 during an Islamic religious ceremony that took place close to the market town of Harar.
The birthplace of coffee is Ethiopia, where it’s been cultivated for centuries and served as a common drink at social gatherings or with meals.
It wasn’t until the 14th century when traders began moving southward from Yemen’s port city Mukalla down to the ports on present-day Somalia’s coast that they discovered beans were not only edible but also had medicinal properties.
A few years later, one can find documented evidence suggesting Ethiopian goats herding laborers received their daily wages in cups full of roasted coffee beans instead of money! From this we know what today is often considered java gold was actually jebena gold in Ethiopia.
Coffee was also a form of currency for Ethiopian tribes, who would pay dowries and alimony with the liquid brew itself!
The coffee plant is indigenous to Ethiopia, but it didn’t stay there long as traders took this new beverage back to their home countries (including Yemen) where they soon began cultivating fields of beans themselves.
7. The oldest people in the world
To this day, the Afar region of Ethiopia is home to some remarkable archaeological discoveries. Some suggest that it is where we all started out from and a few significant findings have been made there in recent years. In 1972 for example, Donald Johanson and Tim D White discovered Lucy which was 3 million years old hominid skeleton at Hadar wait site near Tigray Region close to Djibouti border with Eritrea; she has enjoyed widespread fame since then as one of the earliest known human-like ancestors found outside Africa – but not anymore!
8. Abebe Bikila
In 1960, an Ethiopian named Abebe Bikila became the first black African to win gold in the Olympics. Only making team selection at the last minute due to another athlete’s broken foot, he opted for running barefoot and beat Moroccan Rhadi Ben Abdesselam by a full 25 seconds! Four years later, he won again with ease – setting world records and becoming only person ever to win twice. When asked if his feet weren’t tired (he looked great), Bikila answered that it would’ve been nice if there were 10 more kilometers left!
9. Addis Ababa
Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa is one of Africa’s most underrated cities. While it doesn’t have the big sights and vistas that Morocco or Egypt might boast, what it lacks in architecture its makes up for with rich culture – including a diverse nightlife scene!
Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia and a major gateway to East Africa is home to some important landmarks. The African Union Headquarters, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa headquarters as well as Addis’s most notable landmark: Menelik Palace which was constructed by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1886 during his reign. At 2,450 metres above sea level it has earned its place among the four highest capitals on earth today!
10. Ethiopia for vegetarians
Ethiopia has some of the tastiest, healthiest and most diverse cuisine on the continent. This is not surprising because Ethiopians follow a strand of Orthodox Christianity that prohibits eating any animal products from Wednesdays to Fridays which means they rely heavily on vegetables for their recipes like spicy vegan stews.
Ethiopian cooking offers an array tastes with many vegetarian options due to Ethiopian’s commitment to following strict religious practices during certain days in order to avoid meat consumption.
50 Fun Facts about Ethiopia
1. The GDP of Ethiopia is $174.7 billion.
2. The nominal GDP per capita is $1,900.
3. Ethiopia is a federal parliamentary republic.
4. The Ethiopian calendar has a 13th month that has just five or six days.
5. Ethiopia was established around 980 BC and is one of the oldest countries on Earth.
6. Nearly one in five Ethiopian girls is married before she is 15 years old.
7. Nearly two out of every five girls are married before she turns 18.
8. More than 80 different languages are spoken in Ethiopia.
9. The oldest fossilized skeleton of a human was found in this country. The skeleton is thought to be over three million years old.
10. The national dish of Ethiopia is wat, a type of spicy stew.
11. Ethiopia has a total of nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the holy city of Lalibela.
12. Addis Ababa Mercato is the largest open-air market in Africa.
13. Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa, coming in second only to Nigeria.
14. About 70% of Africa’s mountains are found in Ethiopia.
15. Africa’s first gold medal was won by Abebe Bikila in 1960.
16. Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia’s Kaffa region.
17. Ethiopians celebrate New Year’s in the month of September.
18. Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia. However, Oromo is also widely spoken in the country, while other languages are also spoken as well.
19. Camels and donkeys were first domesticated in this country.
20. Ethiopia is the 5th poorest country in the world.
21. Approximately two-thirds of the population live on less than $1 per day.
22. Most children in Ethiopia take their father’s first name as their last name.
23. One of Ethiopia’s delicacies is raw meat.
24. In some areas of Ethiopia, residents wear a large disc in their lip. This is considered beautiful among the people in these regions.
25. A famine that struck the country in the 1980s killed at least 400,000 and may have led to the deaths of as many as one million people.
26. Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world.
27. Dallol, Ethiopia was the hottest place on earth. It is now considered a ghost town and has no residents.
28. Almost half of the Ethiopian population is under the age of 15.
29. The Ethiopians have their own indigenous written alphabet.
30. Ethiopia was mentioned in the Bible and the Koran.
31. Slavery was legal in Ethiopia until 1942.
32. The first hotel in Ethiopia was constructed in 1898, and it is still in operation.
33. Ethiopia is the 10th largest country in Africa.
34. Italy attempted to invade Ethiopia twice and was defeated both times.
35. Consuming animal products on Wednesdays and Fridays is forbidden in Ethiopia.
36. Ethiopia has a different way of measuring time from the rest of the world. Six a.m. is considered to be 12 and is seen as the start of the day.
37. Stick fighting is a popular sport in certain regions in Ethiopia.
38. Buhe is similar to Halloween and is celebrated in August in Ethiopia. Boys go door to door, singing songs and receiving bread. In some cities, they may also be paid money after they finish singing.
39. Ethiopia is called the Roof of Africa because of how many mountains are located in the country.
40. Addis Ababa is the third-highest capital in the world, sitting at 8,000 feet.
41. Primary school enrollments have quadrupled over the last 20 years.
42. Child mortality has decreased by 50% over the past two decades.
43. The number of people in Ethiopia that have access to clean water has tripled in recent years.
44. Because the Ethiopian calendar has an additional month, it is now about eight years behind traditional calendars used in the United States and other countries.
45. The Ethiopian wolf and the Gelada baboon reside in Ethiopia and can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
46. The Blue Nile runs through Ethiopia.
47. It is considered impolite in Ethiopian culture to turn down a cup of coffee
48. Traditional societies in Ethiopia believe that having twins is a sign of bad luck. Some go so far as to say that twins are evil.
49. Ethiopia has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, with the average for men at 48 years and 50 years for women.
50. Ancient laws prohibit females from entering certain holy spots in the country. This doesn’t just apply to women, but to female animals as well.