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The Battle of Adwa – 121 years since the Ethiopian Army defeated the Italians

Today is Adwa day, an Ethiopian holiday that  the Ethiopian victory of the Battle of Adwa in 1896. This was the battle that ended Italian Colonial ambitions in Ethiopia (until Mussolini gave renewed energy to colonial aspirations).  What happened? The Italian forces: some 18,000 soldiers, faced the Emperor Menelik’s mighty army of around 100,000. The Ethiopian […]

Fifty five days of fasting underway in Ethiopia

As many will know the big fasting season in Ethiopia started this week on Monday. Fasting is appears in many religions around the world. But in the west its has lost its rigour for most people. However in the Ethiopian Orthodox church there are many fasting days through the year. In fact a strict observer of […]

A country says farewell to an historic figure.

Dignitaries gathered yesterday at Selassie church in the centre of Addis Ababa to pay their respects to Richard Pankhurst OBE, who died last week at the age of 89. With his mother Sylvia Pankhurst, the famous suffragette and long time supporter of Ethiopia, he moved to Ethiopia in 1956. As a historian he worked at Addis Ababa […]

Melkam Timkat … Timkat explained.

So tonight 18th January, is the eve of Timkat. Processions made there way across towns in urban areas and over the fields in the countryside, to a place where in the morning the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan river is commemorated. Water will be blessed and the multitudes will be splashed with the holy […]

Ethiopia prepares for Timkat

Preparations are underway for one festival that seems to encapsulate Ethiopia’s unique place in the world: it is Timkat – or ‘Baptism’. It is frequently referred to as Epiphany, which undersells what is a very special and Ethiopian day. In fact it is really spread over 2 or 3 days. And it start tomorrow- Wed 18th […]

Christmas is coming .. in Ethiopia

Melkam Gena / Happy Christmas Christmas is coming and sheep is for the pot. Onions need cutting and enjara pan is hot. If you can’t afford a sheep a chicken will do. If you can’t afford a chicken then God bless you. This adaptation tells a few home truths about festivals in Ethiopia such as […]

Ethiopia is safe to travel to, says British FCO, so pack your bags and come and see this ancient land.

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) have lifted travel advise against non essential travel to all tourist destinations in Ethiopia. On 2nd December they returned their advise to the pre September levels with exception of several remote woredas (district) in North West of Gondar, by lifting advise against travel to western Amhara and parts of Oromiya. Naturally we […]

Simiens is normal for the Gelada and Ibex, but where are the tourists?

Life in the Simien Mountains this week: Gelada baboons graze the Simien grasslands as they did last year: murmuring and mewing, with occasional shouts when bachelor males venture too close to family groups. They spend much of their time grooming each other in ritual social behaviour. The grazing consists of digging the grass with sharp […]

Lalibela & Meket now safe for travel – so says British FCO

The British FCO has now removed the travel advise against non essential travel to Eastern Amhara, (including Lalibela and the Meket & Lasta Community Treks). [See here] This means UK insurance companies policies will be valid for visits to these areas.   This change in advise has also been taken by many other western governments, […]

Holy days of Hedar, Mikael and Mariam

There are many big saints days in Hedar (Ethiopian month that runs from 10Nov – 9Dec) where certain churches will parade out their tabots with much dancing and celebration. One such is Hedar Mikael, St.Michael’s day on 21st November. On this coming Monday morning your nose will be the first to tell you of this […]