Addis Ababa Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by DAO
  • Local Customs
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  • THE SUGAR CANE SELLERS
    THE SUGAR CANE SELLERS
    by DAO

Most Recent Local Customs in Addis Ababa

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    WASHING OF HANDS

    by DAO Written Jul 30, 2013
    WASHING HANDS IN A FRIEND'S HOME
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    Ethiopians are very observant of hygiene, especially when eating. The national dish is Injera with different dishes being placed up on it. All Injera is eaten with the right hand and food is traditionally shared. So it makes a lot of sense that you will always be offered for your hands to be washed by your hosts before you eat. Whether it is in a restaurant or in someone’s home, you will be approached with a bowl, soap and water to wash your hands with. The containers can be anything from actual silver to plastic. The bowl that holds the soap drains into the bottom as the water is poured. I would recommend that you use a light amount of soap and wash your fingers well and away from the bowl. That way the water does not come before you have administered the soap. Just remember - it’s the fingers that are important. If you are eating Injera properly, you never take more in your fingers than you can easily put in your mouth and the food should not be in contact with the palm of your hand. There may not be a lot of water if there are a few of you and a soap taste when eating is not nice. Should you need more water though, just ask.

    This is actually a religious tradition called 'Sen'na bert' and it is traditionally the lady of the house who will offer to wash the guests' hands.

    After you have eaten, the soap and water will appear again to clean your fingers. I would still recommend wet wipes for after your meal. The sauces often really get under your fingernails.

    Enjoy!

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    THE SHOE SHINE GUYS

    by DAO Written Jul 20, 2013

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    In a country with so many poor people and not enough jobs, you will come across men and often young boys who offer to shine your shoes. The young man in the first picture actually came and knocked on the door of my apartment. He was going door to door offering his services. He did a first class job on an old pair of shoes. I gave him 10 Birr (about 50 us cents) and he was absolutely happy with the money. You will see these guys on the streets and I always found them polite and absolutely dedicated to doing a first calls job. They really do make any shoes look new. Just agree a price before hand and don’t let them give you too high a price. With food being inexpensive in Ethiopia, your small fee can literally buy a meal. It’s a good deal and you are helping someone earn a very honest living for a very small amount of money.

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    THE SUGAR CANE SELLERS

    by DAO Written Jun 30, 2013
    THE SUGAR CANE SELLERS
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    These guys are fascinating to watch. They start the day – early – by collecting 5-10 very tall stalks of sugar cane. These can reach up to 6 metres in length! Needless to say they are heavy and awkward for these poor guys to carry around. They will sell you a length of sugar cane about as long as your hand for 1 or 2 Birr (11-22 US Cents). After they hack this portion off with their machete, they now have a lighter and shorter load. They then walk around until dark selling. You can easily tell what kind of day they have had.

    If you do like sugary things, please buy a little bit from them. They are lucky to make $3-4 a day. If you don't you can buy a small amount and give it to some kids on the street.

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    A FOOD TIP: BREAKFAST

    by DAO Written Jun 17, 2013
    FIR FIR - WITH MORE INJERA!
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    HUNGRY? Really hungry? The largest and most filling breakfast food in Ethiopia is Injera Fir Fir. ‘Fir Fir’ means literally ‘torn-up’. Its hundreds of tiny pieces of injera soaked in kai wat (somewhat hot red sauce) and some meat and served folded in injera. Some places use more meat than others and ask for it 'with meat' to ensure it’s in there. You can also ask for Fit Fit. Fit Fit is the same thing with fresh injera, but you may be waiting a while. Fir Fir has dried overnight. I actually recommend Fir Fir as they do put the sauce on it. You can also get this as other dishes (like tibs or with egg) for lunch or dinner.

    This will fill you up in the morning though until your evening meal. That is a DAO guarantee!

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  • if you are invited in ethipian house for meal

    by lisahardgroove Written May 17, 2011

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    when you are invited in ethipian common living stand.house for meal most of the time alitle boy/girl or maids or even invitors will brought hand wash water with soap
    stand by your feet and wash two hand this is a sign of respect
    neveer use your left hand to eat even you are left handed that is dis respect
    dont stand and go even you are full waite till other finish tire course this is also sign of respect

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    Friendly, gentle and curious people

    by georeiser Updated May 8, 2010

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    Children in Addis Abeba
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    The Ethiopian people are very friendly, gentle and curious. You may hear the word "ferenjy", which means "white man".

    Take a look at the first photo here. The children came out from the playground behind to wish me welcome. They were dressed up because it was the Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash)

    Right behind them a goat was slaughted.

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    Singing girls in Addis Ababa

    by georeiser Updated Jan 23, 2009

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    Singing girls in Addis Ababa
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    I was in Addis Abeba on the new years day, September 9 (After the Orthodox Gregorian calendar, as they use in Ethiopia).

    The girls on the photo were singing and celebrating the day. The children were not shy, and liked to sing. It is also a way of getting money as streets musicians, but they didn't ask for money. I gave them one Birr each.

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    FOOD TIP: KITFO

    by DAO Updated Jul 17, 2008

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    For some reason many visitors to Ethiopia want to try this dish as soon as they can. Kitfo (or Ketfo) is raw beef. That’s how it's served. I find this heavy on the stomach and have never had a very good dish in a restaurant. One of my friends made it at home for me and I did find it very tasty. Essentially Kitfo is minced beef marinated in butter with spicy chilli powder and other herbs & spices. It is eaten with injera. My host poured melted butter on top, but that’s as close to heating the dish up as you are going to get.

    If you still want to try this dish do 2 things. Go to a top quality restaurant and order ‘Marhabaroui’. That is a little of everything. Specify that you want Kitfo as one of the portions. Enjoy.

    Please note: You can get ‘Special Kitfo’ which is deep fried (last picture). I find that kills the taste.

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    FOOD TIP: TERE SEGA

    by DAO Updated Jul 14, 2008

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    ere Sega, also known as Gored Gored, means raw meat. This is a special delicacy served at weddings (pictured). Some or all of the carcass is hung to show it’s fresh. Appropriately dressed butchers will choose quality cuts for you and even take requests. They cut off cubes with large sharp knives. You are then offered 2 sauces to go with it: Awazi and Berbere. Awazi is a combination of mustard and chilli while berbere is the spicy red sauce you find in Doro Wat.

    Some restaurants served this and often label it as Gored Gored. You obviously lose the special excitement of a wedding. I would not eat it except in restaurants specialising in this and having it on display. It’s the only way to ensure it’s fresh and clean.

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    GIN !

    by DAO Updated Jul 14, 2008

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    Gin is served like nowhere else on earth. Gin is made here, its good and it’s cheap. They bring you a big fat glass and start pouring huge measures. They will bring you tonic and fresh lemon slices. Should set you back about 20-30 US cents. I took 3 friends to a bar and we drank a lot of gin and I had change back from $5 easy.

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    INJERA

    by DAO Written Apr 19, 2008

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    Injera is the basic ingredient of any Ethiopian meal. It looks like a large spongy pancake and some of the sizes produced are huge. It is usually laid down in a large circular tray and sauces, meat and/or vegetables are poured right in the middle. Then you use you right hand (only) to tear pieces off the side and scoop of the wonderful food. It has been described as having a slightly sour taste. I find it’s a sharp taste, but blends in well with sauces to produce a mouth-watering flavour whatever the dish.

    Injera is made from Teff, a small grain packed with calcium, fibre,
    and protein. It is also an alternative for anyone allergic to gluten in wheat. It is also less fattening than wheat.

    Served by all restaurants in Addis Ababa. All photos were taken here.

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    YOUR GRANDMOTHER IS FROM ETHIOPIA !

    by DAO Updated Apr 18, 2008

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    "'Lucy," is the oldest hominid that has ever been found and your relative most likely. Lucy was found by Donald Johanson and Tom Gray on November 24, 1974, at Hadar. She has been dated as living 3.5 million years ago. Her name comes from Archaeologists who named her after the Beatles song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Unfortunately, the real skeleton of Lucy cannot be displayed because the fossilized bones are so fragile. What you do see is very small as Lucy was only about 3-1/2 feet tall and weighed a very slight 60 to 65 pounds.

    She does have a room devoted to her in the National Museum.

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    THE SUGAR CANE SELLER

    by DAO Updated Jan 31, 2008

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    These guys are fascinating to watch. They start the day – early – by collecting 3-4 very tall stalks of sugar cane. These can reach up to 6 metres in length! Needless to say they are heavy and awkward for these poor guys to carry around. They will sell you a length of sugar cane about as long as your hand for 1 or 2 Birr (11-22 US Cents). After they hack this portion off with their machete, they now have a lighter and shorter load. They then walk around until dark selling. You can easily tell what kind of day they have had.

    If you do like sugary things, please buy a little bit from them. They are lucky to make $3-4 a day.

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    THE NATIONAL FLAG

    by DAO Updated Mar 21, 2007

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    The Ethiopian flag was first adopted in 1897, a year after Ethiopia had bravely defended itself from advances by Italy at the Battle of Adwa. It has always had the same 3 colours that have been adopted by other African countries upon independence that the tricolours have become known as the ‘pan-African colours’. It is a true testament to the only African country that was never colonised by a European country.

    The current flag consists of 3 equal horizontal bands of Green (top), Yellow, and Red with a yellow pentagram and single yellow rays radiating upon light blue disk

    There is a healthy debate as to what the colours represent, but they are generally regarded as:

    GREEN The land and it’s bounty
    YELLOW Peace and harmony between the many tribes of Ethiopia
    RED Blood shed by patriots defending the country
    THE STAR The bright future of Ethiopia and echoes of King Solomon
    YELLOW RAYS They are the same length and represent equality no matter your race, religion or tribe.

    http://fotw.fivestarflags.com/et.html

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    MENS TOILET

    by DAO Updated Mar 21, 2007

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    This is a picture of a sign for a MEN's toilet/bathroom. Feel free to save this to your "Custom Travel Guide" and print it. Then you can take it along with you and avoid any embarrassment!

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Addis Ababa Local Customs

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