ADDIS ABABA (HAN) August 29.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. OPINION By Eden Sahle. Probably you have never heard enough about this ancient country, which has stayed true to its culture. From never ending sunshine to several UNESCO registered breathtaking heritage sights, Ethiopia is certainly a place beyond stunning. It’s hard to get enough of the sights, the bites and the hospitality on this part of Africa.
1. Ethiopians are very friendly and hospitable; they give their utmost respect and recognition for all visitors from around the world. If you love meet and greet as well as being treated as the most important person at every local place you go; then you have come to the right place as Ethiopians truly know how to make you feel very special.
2. A visit to Ethiopia certainly gets you out of the common and the ordinary to an exceptional level of adventure. As a place of incredible diversity and ancient civilization, Ethiopia takes you to the 10th century and way back with its still standing incredible architectures and archeological wealth that truly wows all your expectations.
3. Ever wished to be in a place which does not seem from this planet; well Ethiopia has one for you. Danakil, one of the world’s active fire lake goes 125 meters below sea level, creating a fire lake. The molten rock of lava bubbles up to the surface making you feel as though completely on another planet.
4. Who doesn’t enjoy great food right? Ethiopian over 80 ethnic groups are always ready to make you taste their yummy culinary varieties, blended with indigenous ingredients that create a wide range of mouthwatering healthy cuisines. The dishes consist of vegetables and meat served in a form of thick stew. It has its own unique breakfast, lunch and dinner specialties letting you to pick from the countless colorful choices.
5. Ethiopia is not short of anything great including carnivals and street shows. The annual carnival on January 19 Timkat (Ethiopian Epiphany) is colorfully celebrated all over Ethiopia. The clergy, deacons, singers and the public gather in large numbers dressed in crystal clear white yehbesha libse (locally made and designed clothings) portraying a spectacle feature to the traditional celebration; and the best part of it is everyone is invited to the carnival.
6. Truly Ethiopia is a wildlife kingdom. Its home to several animal species specific to the region and over 400 species of birds making it the African Amazon. It’s a place where you see wild animals and their life up close.
7. Ethiopia is unique in all great aspects, its exclusive New Year being the most adventurous. Enkutatash celebration goes back 3,000 years to commemorate the Queen of Sheba of ancient Ethiopia and Yemen who visited King Solomon of Israel in Jerusalem. When the Queen returned to Ethiopia her chiefs welcomed her with enku (jewels). This remained to be the symbol of the Ethiopian New Year. The day also involves singing and dancing in public. Young women dressed in hebesha kemesi (traditional cotton dress) and traditional hair braid, sing around the village giving freshly picked bouquets of flowers and paintings to each household. The girls will be given difo dabo or money to show appreciation of their song and gifts. When these girls spot you on the road they shower you with flattering words that will force you to be delighted.
8. Unique to Ethiopia, Meskel (Cross) is the magnificent carnival celebrated for two days beginning September 27th. It is one of the most colorful festivals celebrated by local Christians for more than 1600 years. It involves dancing, feasting and lighting a massive bonfire to commemorate the discovery of the “true cross” on which Jesus Christ was crucified. On the eve, thousands of people gather at Meskel Square named after the event, to watch the ceremonial lighting of fire and singing. This is truly the best season to be in Ethiopia, observing daisies bright yellow blossoms that flourish across the country.
9. Coming to Ethiopia and seeing the coffee ceremony and the quality coffee bean makes you to enjoy the hot beverage in another whole pleasant way. It’s the integral part of every Ethiopian life. An invitation to attend the cultural coffee ceremony is considered a sign of friendship and respect; when you are invited to it be happy as its Ethiopian way of showing affection. The long involved coffee ceremony starts with traditional apparatus being arranged upon a bed of long scented grasses. The roasting and boiling is done over a small charcoal stove finally served with traditional ceramic cups called Sinny, allowing to you enjoy not one cup but three cups of the delightful drink.
10. Being home to nine UNESCO registered natural heritages, it provides a tough and immensely rewarding trekking routes. The spectacular scenery of the mountains, particularly the semien mountain which rival the Colorado’s Grand Canyon are magnificent. From ancient luxurious palaces to sky rise green mountains, Ethiopia offers a diversified and unforgettable escapades that will make you miss the country until you take your next trip.