I was born in Ethiopia, the country located in East Africa. There are many different cultures and traditions in Ethiopia. I adapted some of the various cultures from my family and also from people I lived with. Some parts of Ethiopian cultures that express my identity and life style are my communication, my religion and social activity.
This blog features new Minnesotans who are studying English at Rondo Community Outreach Library in St. Paul. This blog entry was written by Ermias.
One way of communication for me is my language, which is called Amharic. Amharic has its own letters with different kinds of sounds and pronunciation. I speak Amharic, only for the people who can listen and understand the language. This language is most commonly spoken by the people who live in some specific provinces and cities of the country. For example, it is spoken in Addis Ababa, Gogam, Gonder, and Wello.
Another very interesting and typical way of communication is using a calendar which is different from other nations’ calendars. We have 13 months in the year. That means 12 months of 30 days and the 13th month will be five days or six days. Our new year starts in September. We are eight years behind the European calendar. A day starts when the sun rises up and the day ends after 24 hours. So my communication through language and our typical calendar express my culture.
My religion is called Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, which is very traditional and typical for the Christians in my country. I practice this religion by assisting every Sunday morning from 6am until 12 am. When I go to church I wear special clothes, which are white and thin and a soft scarf on the top of my coat. My wife wears white clothes and usually covers her head while she is inside the church. I have seven fasting periods in a year ruled by the church. On any of the fasting days I am not allowed to eat any kind of animal products like milk, meat, cheese, egg, etc. So my religion expresses my identity or culture.
My social activity, especially on some wedding ceremonies or holidays, also shows my cultural identity. If I want to get married I can’t just contact the women I want. The rule is that I am supposed to send some of my best friends to the bride’s family and beg them for their daughter, Once the marriage is allowed by her family, I should give her the most precious gifts I can afford.
Another social activity is celebrating holidays, which usually could be religious or other events. Almost in all celebrations we sacrifice cows and sheep, and we meet with family and friends and eat together. By interacting with people in my social group I express my Identity the way I live.
In our world, we have seen so many different cultures created by different groups of people when they live together. My culture reflects my living style and the people I used to live with.
Although I left my country where I adopted my culture, I still reflected my culture by speaking my language with the same people as me, by practicing my religion at a traditional Ethiopian church and by practicing on Ethiopian events.
My name is Ermias. My home country is Ethiopia. I was born in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. I came to USA in 1998, I came with my wife and two children. Now they are 13 and 12 years old and also I have one more child who is four years old and born here in USA.