Ethiopia is a country that possesses a massive wealth of legends and fascinating attractions. It was home to the most ancient kingdom in the continent, recognised as one of the most ancient kingdoms in the world. It is the only African country that possesses its own alphabet and unique calendar and a country that kept its own independence in the face of European colonies.
Temperature is no less varied. It ranges from the icy cold of the mountains with frost and in places even snow through the temperate highland which is the country’s most historical settlement to the torrid low land in the north east. This geographical variation is a factor for the rainfall distribution. The torrential down falls in the highlands contrasting with the precipitation in the parched almost waterless lowlands. Highlands and lowlands are always juxtaposed next to each other for this reason people settled in the highlands and lowlands have lots of differences in terms of their ways of living. Jungles and rain forests particularly in the west, desert and semi desert scrub lands mainly to the east and south; fertile but largely deforested regions mainly in many areas of medium elevations.
It is the land named as the land of Punt as early as the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs, Ethiopian first recorded foreign contact, who dispatched numerous expeditions in search of Incense (Myrrh) and this relationship with Egypt continued until the Christian period in which Ethiopian Christendom exclusively dependent on Egypt for the importation of the Patriarchies. If there is anything that defines the country without doubt the absence of Homogeneity in its characteristics. Diversity as a dominant feature, can be expressed in terms of Ethnic, Linguistic and Religion Groups. The mountainous nature, lots of rivers, ravines and flash torrent make traveling very difficult and during the rainy season virtually impossible this leads to the perpetuation of many different ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. Ethiopia has 83 ethnic groups, each has its own language, culture, folklores methodology of living, etc. These ethnic groups scattered with in a unique geographical settings and develop a unique culture in Africa. The varied people, despite the fact that their precise geographical location massively changed, as well as expanding or contrasting over centuries, belonged to four linguistic groups known as Semitic, Cushitic, Omoic and Nilo- Sahara. People of the northern and central parts of the present day Ethiopia are versed of Semitic languages and are represented there by the ancient ecclesiastical Ge’ez language and by three other currently spoken tongues Tigrinya in most part of the north, Tegray (Tegregnye) in areas near the Red Sea Cost, and Amharic, the National language, more in the centre and in the north western part of the country. Semitic languages are also exist in the south and east. The Gurages are those found in the south and the Adere known also as the Harari and the Aregoba both in the South east like the Gurage and the Harerie people who live in the walled city of Hare speak the traditional Harerie language. The Cushitic languages are predominantly confined to the south of the country and consist of the widely diffused Oromifa or Afan-Oromo, Sidamo, Hadeya, etc. But Cushitic languages are also found in the north and north east where the Agew, Beja, Saho, Qemant, and Afar occupied.
Omotic language are represented in the lower omo valley and indigenous to the region and spoken by pastoral people the Hamer, Ari, Benna, Beshada, Maale, Dizi, Gemerra, Karo, Dorze andWolayita.
The Nilo- Sahara language is found on Ethiopia’s south western territory spoken by the Kunama further north, Berta, Gumeze, Mejengure , Mursi, Surma, Bodi, Nyangatm, Me’en and more to the south Nuer and Anuak ,a diffusion of it stretches as far over in to the Sudan.
The low lands and the east, including the ports and the great commercial centre Harer, in contrast are populated by the Muslims. These first Islamic populations were granted such a right to run the country’s commercial affairs in the world stage.
Judaism was limited in the north and northwest of the country and practiced by the small group of the Bête Israel or house of Israel. They served largely as craftsmen, blacksmiths, builders, and potters. They were scattered in areas south of Axum in the Simien Mountain National park, Gondar and Lake Tana region.
Small number of people are still adherents of local animist religions which preponderate in an extensive, but gradually contrasting areas of the south and west. Most such faiths doubtless predate the coming of monotheist religion.
Ethiopians have their own way of telling time. The day is divided in two equal12hours and the first hour of the day corresponds with the rising of the sun and the last hour of the same day is around sunset. Twelve o’clock Ethiopian time, in the morning, is Six o’clock European time. Ethiopia is GMT+3 and because of its proximity to the Equator, there is not time variation between the day and night for this reason it allows the country to enjoy 12 hours daylight.