Back On The Road Again In Ethiopia


TravelEthiopia1As it is about time for me to be back on the road again in order to continue my adventure of being A TOURIST IN MY OWN COUNTRY… so before I leave, I would like to share my favorite inspirational travel quotes which I choose to take along with me as an inspiring travel companion.

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Posted in Addis Ababa, Adventure, Africa, Ethiopia, Quote, Quote of the day, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

100 Posts: All About ETHIOPIA!


100postsallaboutEthiopia1It is about time for me to honor my INSPIRATIONS while celebrating the fact that my blog – About Addis Ababa – made it to 100 posts. First and foremost I would like to thank the source of inspiration that works through all creations – the infinite intelligence I choose to call GOD.

My other inspiration when it comes to writing is Natalie Goldberg through one of her books – Writing Down The Bones – my quintessential manual for writing or any creative work for that matter. Thus here, I would like to express my deepest respect and appreciation to Natalie … wherever she may be and as she would say … “May we all meet in heaven café writing for eternity.”

I am no expert of anything and as Natalie eloquently state it in her book “Don’t identify too strongly with your work. Stay fluid behind those black – and – white words. They are not you. They were a great moment going through you. A moment you were awake enough to write down and capture.” so I am just being able to reveal the beautiful eloquent pieces of Ethiopia which I fortunately surrounded by … it is really an honor to raise the curtain for my homeland’s beautifully inspiring EVERYDAY life so that the rest of the world can see, to relish in its beauty and be inspired.

As I am honoring my inspirations, I would like to mention one of Natalie’s inspiring and wise words from one of her books that have provided me with heart for the path – Writing Down The Bones – “Life is so rich, if you can write down the real details of the way things were and are, you hardly need anything else.” Be inspired!

100postsallaboutEthiopia2Last but not least, none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the inspiring and unconditional love I am receiving from family, friends and loved ones who is working so hard behind the scene so that I can get all the credit…Thank you for being the wind beneath my wings. And of course my esteemed loyal readers and your inspiring comments – my treasured leverage to keep on doing what I love to do – I believe reaction for any kind of work inspires creativity so I dare to say YOU are the main reason for my blog – About Addis Ababa – to made it 100 posts!

Thank you all for allowing me to be human by seeing and shining a light up on the potential rather than my imperfection.

You Inspire Me!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, Ethiopia, Inspiration, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

MESKEL: Ethiopian Feast Of Exaltation Of Holy Cross


Meskelcelebration1Meskel is a yearly religious Ethiopian holiday in commemorating the discovery of the true cross by Queen Eleni (Queen Helena) in the 14th century. The actual Meskel holiday occurs on September 27 GC or September 28 in leap years. The Ge’ez word Meskel literally means Cross in which the celebration day named after.

Meskelcelebration2Although there are many factors that make Meskel celebration one of the most anticipated Ethiopian Holidays, but the very fact that Meskel is the first religious Ethiopian holiday to be celebrated right after the Enkutatash Celebration during the first Month of Ethiopian New Year which is Meskerem – a brightly colorful month of transition from winter to spring – makes it even more awaited.

Worldwide the festival is known as Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and legend has it that, Queen Helena had a revelation in a dream in which she was told that she shall make a bonfire and that the smoke would show her where the true cross upon which Christ was crucified is buried. Accordingly and after adding frankincense to it the bonfire was lit and the smoke rose high up to the sky and return to the ground exactly to the spot where the cross had been buried.

Meskelcelebration3In order to symbolize this particular legend eloquently, a colorful and huge Demera procession takes place in late afternoon right before the celebration day (September 26) at the city center of many major Ethiopian cities around the country. Demera is a huge bonfire built by bunch of dried sticks bundled up together and finish off with a distinctive and Ethiopian touch by putting a cross sign at the top tied with yellow daises which locally known as Meskel flower as it blooms during this time of year here in Ethiopia.

Meskelcelebration4Meskelcelebration5The different kinds of artistically expressive images and costumes, the gospel singers with their huge drums, priests with their huge crosses and colorful robes, a lot of people who came to attend the event many in traditional clothing makes it all one of a- must-see Ethiopian festivals. Before closing off the Demera procession in the early evening, the Demera is lit after it is blessed by the priest which is one of the mesmerizing scenes that belongs to Meskel celebration only.

Smaller Demera are also built at the villages or individual households to be lit with the family, neighbors and loved ones and afterwards getting all ready for the Meskel Holiday (September 27) by preparing traditional Ethiopian Holiday cuisines.

Meskelcelebration6In spite of the religious aspect of Meskel celebration, it is also celebrated culturally with many distinctive and eloquent details in most of the south and south western Ethiopian villages of the Gurage Zone by its people known as Gurage.

Meskelcelebration7The warm Gurage people are famously known as one of the conscientious and business people of Ethiopia. From shoe shining business to owning little Suk (kiosks) which fondly known as ye Gurage Suk and situated at every Addis Ababa’s neighborhoods is mostly run by the enthusiast Gurage people who mainly comes from the beautifully lush South and South-Western Gurage Zone villages of the country.

Meskelcelebration8 (2)meskelcelebration8It is during Meskel celebration that these diligent people usually go back to their village to enjoy their yearlong fruit of labor with family, relatives, friends and neighbors the best way they know how. Since receiving the priceless blessings from the elders of the household or village is something that the Gurage people value the most in spite of the fruit of their labor, this once in a year Meskel celebration means going back to their amazingly green and loving village (Home).

Meskelcelebration9Meskelcelebration10From all the eloquent details that make this culturally unique Meskel celebration of the Gurage people, for today I would like to give homage to the renowned and exotic Gurage people’s delicious traditional holiday cuisine – Kitfo – because when it comes to Meskel Holiday, Kitfo is the first thought that appear into many Ethiopian minds including mine.

Kitfo is an herbaceous and spicy freshly ground beef generously smeared with the aromatic Niter Qibe (Ethiopian spied butter) and mixed with Mitmita (a blend of chili spices and salt) that just melt in your mouth.

Meskelcelebration11Since Kitfo is one of the regional delights, it can also be enjoyed here in Addis Ababa at Kitfo Bet (Kitfo Eateries) which are specialized in preparing this particular exotic Gurage’s dish and for first time visitors there are Kifto Bet that goes with the distinctively electrifying Gurage traditional song and dance…Perfect!

At these particular eateries, there are three different kinds of Kitfo to be enjoyed depending on your choice … Tire Kitfo is the one with the raw meat coated with Niter Qibe and Mitmita spice mix, Leb leb is the one which slightly cooked meat and Geba Yale is the one with well cooked meat of course all generously smeared with Niter Qibe and a touch of Mitmita spice mix.

Meskelcelebration12It is not only the glistening tender meat that makes Kitfo look appealing but it is the fact that Kitfo is served in a clay vessel with the distinctive touch of Koba (false banana leaf) – which is one of the eloquent pieces of this astonishingly rich Gurage culinary tradition. Koba (False Babana leaf) is used as a cooking parchment and even as a plate to eat Kitfo and other traditional cuisines.

Meskelcelebration13The two main side dishes of Kitfo are Aybe (salty or even spiced cottage cheese), Gomen Kitfo (finely minced Collard Greens cooked with Niter Kibe coated with Mitmita spice mix). Traditionally Kitfo is eaten with Kocho (fermented starch bread made from Enset’s or falls banana plant leaf covers and grated root) though it is also served with the omnipresent staple of Ethiopia – Injera.

Meskelcelebration14Within the distinctive and mesmerizing Gurage culinary tradition, there are other exotic dishes obtained from Enset plant although Kocho is at the spot light for today as it goes with one of Meskel celebration’s main dish – Kitfo.

Meskelcelebration15Meskelcelebration16For passionate culture explorers, there is no place like Gurage Zone villages situated in south and south – western Ethiopia to witness and capture the unique essence of Meskel Holiday as it is celebrated by the locals along with its distinctively unique and mesmerizing details.

Happy Holidays!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, culture, Culture and Tradition, Dorze Village, Ethiopia, Ethnic Food, Events, Festival, Food, Food Travel, Holidays, Religious, Religous Holiday, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Colorful ENKUTATASH Paintings By Ethiopian Boys


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One of the most brightening Ethiopian New Year’s gifts you can receive from ETHIOPIA during Enkutatash Celebration here in Ethiopia is simply the colorful Enkutatash paintings illustrated by Ethiopian boys.

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Early in the morning during New Year’s day …Ethiopian boys in particular give out these simple but colorful Enkutatash paintings–which illustrates Enkutatatash (Ethiopian New Year) by featuring flower, Angel, Saint or Dove –to receive gifts in return, is an esteemed, once – in – a year and longtime Enkutatash tradition…which I would like to give the homage that it deserves by presenting it at this particular post.

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Talking about New Year’s gifts, I would like to celebrate my other Ethiopian Enkutatash gifts along with the colorful Enkutatash paintings – which I cherish forever!

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And most of all, it is all about…

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TO LUXURIATE THE ORDINARY!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Art, culture, Culture and Tradition, Ethiopia, Events, Holidays, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Happy Ethiopian New Year!


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Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, Ethiopia, Holidays, Inspiration, Quote, Quote of the day, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

ENKUTATASH: Ethiopia Welcoming Year 2007


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The Amharic word Enkutatash means “gift of jewels” in which the Ethiopian New Year’s day eloquently named after besides the two Amharic words–Addis Amet which literally means New Year. Welcoming the New Year right after the rainy season ends when most parts of Ethiopia simply and naturally coated by the beautiful yellow daisies which locally known as Adey Ababa make it seems like receiving jewels from Mother Nature’s priceless gifts.

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Interestingly here in Ethiopia year 2007 is just about to arrive and to be welcomed distinctively once again by Ethiopians through Enkutatash celebration on September 11, 2014.  Since Ethiopia still follows the Julian calendar which makes it 7 years behind the western or Gregorian calendar … a trip to Africa particularly to ETHIOPIA can also mean being few years younger – gift of jewels indeed!

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Like many other major Ethiopian Holidays, Enkutatash is also celebrated in great cheer by Ethiopians. Besides the exotic traditional holiday cuisines and home brewed beer or mead … there are many other details that makes Ethiopian holidays complete. Thus, in this particular post I would love to give homage the top three eloquent and distinctive details that only belong to Enkutatash celebration- in which many Ethiopians have special and inner connection with.

Adey Ababa (Yellow daisy) is simply indicates Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash) here in Ethiopia. Besides the fact the fields are simply dominated by the blossom of Adey Ababa, it is that time of year when almost everything incorporate a single or bouquet of Adey Ababa to mark a New Year, New Beginning and most of all HERE COMES THE SUN!

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Traditional Ethiopian New Year Song is a unique Amharic song which can only be enjoyed during this time of year when Ethiopians are prepared in welcoming the New Year and on the actual celebration day (Enkutatash) as it is sung by young Ethiopian girls incorporated with the beat of a drum and clapping hands.

This particular Ethiopian traditional New Year song comes with a distinctive scene – during the morning of the celebration day young Ethiopian girls groomed with the renowned and glowingly white Ethiopian traditional costume along with bouquet of Adey Ababa and go door to door to sing and give out the flowers and in return receive gifts of different kind from money to Ethiopian traditional home baked bread (Difo Dabo) and to finish off the song with a wish of good health and prosperity to the giver or the household owner and the whole family.

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Ethiopian New Year works of art – Even though  Enkutatash is for young Ethiopian girls, the boys are not just spectators rather it is at this time of year they pick their painting brush to be creative and express themselves on a piece of paper which they give out on a New Year’s day by going to door to door. The paintings usually illustrates Angels, Sun, Dove and Flower with happy, vibrant bright colors like yellow and green on a white piece of paper which I think is a simple work of art that enliven spirit extraordinarily and a great way to start a New Year.

EnkutatashEthiopianNewYear6Hoping you captured the spirit of Enkutatash through its top three eloquent details, now I would like to give homage to the warmly magical Ethiopian Holiday natural Scents as I believe smell spur memories, arouse our senses, indulge and delight us… beside from all our senses, scent is the one that universally connected with spirit and brings with it happy memories like Holidays.

EnkutatashEthiopianNewYear7Starting with Ketema (bunch of freshly picked tall green grass from the field)…strewing Ketema on the floor especially during all Ethiopian holidays, special occasions, events and during the traditional coffee ceremony is an esteemed and longtime Ethiopian tradition whether it is to welcome the holiday spirit or bringing the freshness of nature inside.

EnkutatashEthiopianNewYear8The magical Ethiopian Holiday scent begins with the natural green and earthy scents derived from the fresh green grass which usually accompanied with different kinds of aromatic herbs like Ariti (Artemisia Afra), Tej Sar (Lemon Grass), Hades and so on. From all the holiday items locals buy from the local market, along the streets or around many Ethiopian Orthodox churches, Ketema is one of it and mainly during the holidays. Besides the aromatic herbs, the Ketema bundle features Adey Ababa during Enkutatash celebration.

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EnkutatashEthiopianNewYear12Another interesting Ethiopian household practice to sweeten the air and surroundings especially during the holiday is burning Etan (incense resin) like Frankincense, Myrrh and other. Since Etan is one of the eloquent pieces of Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony,  usually the scent of the burning incense followed by the scent of the roasting coffee beans and together creates the warmly Magical Ethiopian Holiday Scent which many Ethiopians have deep and inner spiritual connection with.

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Wrapped by vibrant happy colors of Yellow – from Adey Ababa, Green – from the fresh green grass, White – from the traditional clothing… immersed in the scent of natural aromatic herbs, roasting coffee beans, burning incense and embraced by the curtain of a smoke that emanates out of the colorful incense brazier with family and friends at home during this time of year is a distinctive Ethiopian Holiday scene.

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Happy Ethiopian New Year!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, culture, Culture and Tradition, Ethiopia, Events, Holidays, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Addis Ababa’s Seasonal Street Delights


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In counting the blessings of the old year before it officially departs and welcoming Ethiopian New Year (September 11, 2014) with new hope, I am inspired to honor Addis Ababa’s seasonal street delights–which as a local I enjoyed one after the other thoroughly every season till the very last bite – by presenting this particular photo essay and share this SWEET BLESSING with the world.  Enjoy!

Preem (Plum) – For Ethiopia, Plum is the once -in -a year succulent, scrumptious, and beautifully red healthy fruit which voraciously picked from the pushcarts every year by the locals as if it appeared for the very first time along the streets of Addis Ababa. Always NEW!

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Shimbra Eshet (Freshly picked green Chickpeas) – A genuine and an exciting opportunity that Africa provides to get all intimate with one of Mother Nature’s nourishing blessings along the buzzing and interesting streets of Addis Ababa.

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Shenkora (Sugar Cane) – Another Ethiopian way of extracting all the sweetness of nature AS IT IS under the blazing sun of Africa.

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Tamar (Date Palm) – One of Addis Ababa’s seasonal street delights that the sweet blessing of RAMADAN brings along … all the way from the Middle East to the capital of Africa – Addis Ababa.

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Beles (Prickly Pear /Cactus Fruit) – In spite of the fact that Beles recently joins Addis Ababa’s seasonal street delights and the inconvenience of pealing it because of its prickly nature … doesn’t stop many locals to enjoy its deliciousness along the streets of Addis Ababa including me… Love it!

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Bekolo Tibs (Roasted corn) and Sikuar Dinch Kikil(Boiled Sweet Potato) – The soul warming delights that Ethiopian rainy season grants to be enjoyed along the cold and muddy streets of Addis Ababa or at home during this time of year.

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In Celebrating EVERYDAY blessings that Addis Ababa’s EVERYDAY Life offers!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, Ethiopia, Food, Food Travel, Fruit and Vegetable, Nature, snack, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments