Ethiopia religion is involved in the everyday life of the people. It has been for centuries in the country. Priests and deacons abound in their colorful clothes, they carry their staff and ornate crosses mostly peoples kiss the cross as they pass. Most of the Ethiopian languages are based on the reference of god and the calendar they used.
The orthodox Ethiopia religion church holds influence, as it has done since the 4th century when Ethiopia became the first state to accept Christianity. The orthodox Ethiopia religion church has many networks with ancient Judaism. Fasting and detailed food constraints, the unique ways of slaughtering animals, the design of the churches, and the practice of circumcision all make for a very specific religious culture.
Ethiopia had large societies of ‘Falashas’, Ethiopian Jews, particularly in the Gondar region in the north, who have made a crucial role in the history of Ethiopia, specifically in the earlier years. Many of these are now departed to live in Israel, having been left out of the country with operation Solomon and Moses in the final part of the 20th century.
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The second-largest Ethiopia religion is Islam with one-third of the population as followers. While certain regions are mainly either Islam or Christian, Muslims commonly live in peace with Christians in the country.
Ethiopia religion is the way of connection to their god, the way of overcoming sins that we make in our daily life. Ethiopian religious peoples believe in God, heaven, and hell in all religions. Ethiopia religion also affects calendar usage, languages, and lifestyles.
In Ethiopia, there are three main religions: Christians, Muslims, and protestants also other traditional beliefs. National census of 2007 43.5% were orthodox Christians, 33.9% Muslims, 18.6% protestants and 2.6% belief in tradition. Ethiopia took a religious place in the world because the peoples give priority to their Ethiopia religion.
1. Orthodox Christianity Ethiopia Religion
Orthodox Christianity came to Ethiopia at the beginning of the 4th century. A Christian traveler from Syria named Frumentius was captured by the kingdom of Aksum. After he released, he helped to spread Christianity in the region. Eventually, King Ezana is the first king to convert to Christianity, after that he makes the Fruminetius go to Alexandria and he became the first bishop in Ethiopian the name of abba Selama. Ethiopia is the second country to accept the old testament next to Israel and the first to accept the new testament.
Ethiopian Christians believe that the arc of the covenant still exists and in Aksum, the ark of covenant named Tabot in the local language. The ark was brought to Ethiopia when Menelik returns from Jerusalem to Aksum. The ark of the covenant has remained in Ethiopian the chapel of Aksum Tsion Mariam, this makes Aksum the holiest place in Ethiopia. It kept in Maqdas in every Ethiopian church. One holy monk is elected to care and preserve the Tabot. The elected monk becomes the official guardian (Tebaki) of the ark and no one, except the elected monk who looks after the ark of the covenant, is allowed to enter the chapel.
The nine saints support the growth of Christians church, they came from Syria, Constantinople, And Rome. Their Names Were Abba Gerima, Abba Aregawi, Abba Aftse, Abba Pantelewon, Abba Guba, Abba Alef, Abba Liqanos, Abba Yem’ata, Abba Aregawi, And Abba Sehma. They Translated the Holy Bible from Greek To Ge’ez, they also founded a lot of monasteries.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Ethiopia religion Church has five pillars of mystery, the holy trinity, incarnation, mystery of baptism, the mystery of holy communion, the mystery of the resurrection.
1- the mystery of the holy trinity in Orthodox Ethiopia Religion
It is a belief in one God eternally exists three consubstantial persons (the father, the son, and the holy spirit). The doctrine of the trinity is regarded as one of the central Christian assertions about god.
2- the mystery of the incarnation in Orthodox Ethiopia Religion
The mystery of incarnation explains one of the three consubstantial persons ‘the son’ or Jesus Christ “was made flesh” from the womb of the holy woman, the virgin Mary. It entails Jesus is fully God and full man.
3, the mystery of baptism in Orthodox Ethiopia Religion
The mystery of baptism is the main entrance to the orthodox church and participation of its sacramental grace. Since we receive the invisible grace of adoption through visible performance it used to be called a mystery. “he that believes and baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (john 19:34)
4, the mystery of holy communion in Orthodox Ethiopia Religion
On the maundy Thursday Jesus instituted the mystery of the holy communion at the last supper. “for as often as you eat this bread, and drink the cup, you do shoe the lord’s death till he comes” (1 Corinthian 11:26). The eucharist a sacrament to attain union with god and far off from our sin.
5- the mystery of resurrection
The mystery of resurrection is all about the eternal life of humans. We will resurrect after we die as Christ did which will happen at the second coming of Christ. “but Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive again.” (1st Corinthians 15:20)
Orthodox Tewahedo Christians do not eat meat and dairy products on fasting days. To gain forgiveness of sins committed during the year. Some people do not eat meat and
Diary products only others do not eat any food or drink anything the whole day. The main fasting time of the year of Ethiopian orthodox Tewahedo are Wednesday and Friday, the two days are selected because of Wednesday the Jews are meet and discuss for the crucifixion of Jesus and Friday is the day he died, Tsome Nebiyat 43 days before epiphany, Tsome Ghad the eve of epiphany, Tsome Nenewe 3 days before Abey Tsome Started, Abye Tsome Or Tsome Hudade 55 Days Before Fasika It Has Three Parts (Tsome Hirkan, Tsome Arba, Tsome Hemamat), Tsome Hawariyat And Tsome Filseta 15 days starting from 1-15 August.
Ethiopians have a unique feeling for holidays mainly the children have become excited when holidays are coming, it can be religious or the country holidays. For mast holidays peoples buy new clothes for children, or their best clothes are worn, most people go to Ethiopia religion church to pray.
Food and drink are plentiful, also peoples make food or give money to the poor. Mostly when the holiday is after the fasting period, they will slaughter sheep, ox or hen, usually, peoples clean their house deeply and also, they buy some goods for the holiday, in the holiday people dance and sing in different cultural music.
The greatest orthodox festival is that of Timkat on January 20. It celebrates epiphany and it is marked by the following of the Tabot from one Ethiopia Religion church to another. Many Ethiopians like this holiday because it is not only about the Ethiopia religion it also has the original Tabot is said to be in the chapel at Axum around the towns, covered in heavy materials. People in Gondar bathe in Fasil’s bath and splash holy water over viewers. Many peoples in Ethiopia and all tourists want to celebrate Timket in Fasil Gondar because the whole Gondar Tabot (44 Tabot) come up to one place. Other religious festivals are at Fasika (Easter), Inkutatash (the new year) and Genna (Christmas).
In Orthodox Ethiopia religion there are the ‘holiest’ churches in the country like Lalibela, Aksum Tsion, tana Gedamat that many tourists visit this area. They have many histories and different kinds of construction techniques in the early period without the help of advanced construction technology.
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2. Bete Israel Ethiopia Religion
Bete Israel accurate location for the origin of the Jews is difficult and complex to know. It requires investigation on at least 3,000 years of ancient human history using documents in huge quantities and variety written in at least ten near eastern languages. The ethnic routine to which Jews originally came from was a confederation of iron age Semitic-speaking tribes known as the Israelites. Modern Jews are named after and also descended from the southern Israelite kingdom of Judah.
According to the Hebrew bible description, Jewish origin is traced back to the biblical patriarchs such as Abraham, his son Isaac, Isaac’s son Jacob, and the biblical grandmothers Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel, who lived in Canaan. The twelve tribes are defined as descending from the twelve sons of Jakob. Jacob and his family traveled to ancient Egypt after invited to live with Jacob’s son joseph by the pharaoh himself.
Bete Israel lived in Ethiopia for many years but their origin is actually unknown, some said that they came from the lost tribe of dan. Actually, the exact area where they come from is still unknown. The beta Israel starts living in the northern part of Ethiopia, mostly in the semen mountains, and around lake tana. There were periods when an independent Jewish kingdom refuses against Christian emperors, but in the 15th century the beta Israel was soundly defeated and from then on, they became a lower-status minority in the Christian empire. Now there are few members who follow this Ethiopia religion.
Bete Israel believe that Jesus is not born. That is the main element differentiates with the orthodox Christians. Their crosses have a unique form.
3. Islam Ethiopia Religion
Islam was introduced to Ethiopian 7th c. When the followers of Prophet Mohammed, including his wife wanted refuge in Aksum. The king of Aksum welcomed them, respected their Ethiopia religion, and offered them protection. They have started to live in Negash. It is found in Tigray region. Negash is the holiest place in the Islamic Ethiopia religion.
Many tourists have visited the place. Islam spread to the east and southeast of the country mainly Harar and Somali regions. Since its beginning, the Islamic calendar represents a history of a continuous struggle between truth and lie, trust and atheism, freedom and oppression, light and darkness, and between peace and war. Also, the prophet Mohamed has a great role in Muslim freedom. The oppression ends in his 2nd migration to the medina. In Islamic Ethiopia religion prophet, Mohamed is known as the messenger of God.
The Ethiopian Muslim Sunni is grounded on five pillars:
1- shahada (profession of faith) in Islam Ethiopia Religion
The first one is the shahada it is the main pillars of the five. There are two shahadas 1, there is no god but god 2, Muhammad is the messenger of god, it is taken as the main idea to accept the Muslim Ethiopia religion.
2- salat (prayer) in Islam Ethiopia Religion
The second pillar in Muslim is salat. It is about the discipline that we make before praying u have to wash your body parts. In Ethiopian, it is called (Dua). Then they go to praying for their god. These prayers are a very precise type of prayer and a very physical type of prayer called prostrations.
The Muslims pray 5 times a day,.
3- zakat (almsgiving) in Islam Ethiopia Religion
The third pillar zakat is about giving and voluntarism. Muslims have to support poor peoples by giving money from their income or another service for helping them.
The five rules that should be followed when giving the zakat
1- the giver must state to God his intention to give the zakat.
2- the zakat must be paid on the day that it is owing.
3- after the offering, the payer has not to spend the money on unwanted means.
4- payment must be in kind it has not to be only money if a person does not have money, they can always help by giving useful goods.
5- the zakat must be given to the people from which it was taken.
4- sawm (fasting) in Islam Ethiopia Religion
The fourth one is the sawm, the only sawm in Muslims is the Ramadan. It is the holiest month in Muslims. They eat in the night only at day time they have not eaten any meal till it becomes dark.
5, Hajj (pilgrimage) in Islam Ethiopia Religion
The last pillar is the haji, a Muslim is having to make the journey to mecca during the 12th month of the lunar calendar. This ceremonial consists of making a journey to mecca wearing only 2 white sheets so all of the travelers are identical and there is no class distinction among them. At mecca, the travelers get in the mosque and walk around it in a circle. They then pray together in official ceremonies.
Eid-al-fitr and eid-al-adha these two holidays take the main part in Muslim Ethiopia religion. They celebrate this holiday by giving utilities for poor people, they make foods and take them to the neighborhood, also hijra is the Islamic New Year.
The fasting period of Muslims is in Ethiopia it is in the summer days which is called Ramadan. These days have a great meaning for Muslims because these days are praying days, the days of forgiveness for their sins, and helping poor peoples. Most Muslims get to the mosque till the end of Ramadan for 14 days. The workers go to their workplaces but they don’t have a meal until 12:00 in the afternoon. After these fasting days they will celebrate Eid-al-fitr.
4. Protestantism Ethiopia Religion
Protestant Ethiopian protestants tell that their form of Christianity is both the improvement of the current orthodox Tewahedo churches as well as the renewal of it to the original Ethiopian Christianity. They believe Ethiopian orthodox Christianity was paganized after the 960s, during the period of queen Gudit, who destroyed and burned most of the church’s properties and scriptures. Thus, they claim those events have led to the gradual paganization of the oriental orthodox churches which they claim is now simply dominated by rituals, gossip, and stories.
P’ent’ay Christians use the alleged “secularized teaching” of the current Ethiopian orthodox churches, the unproven inability of most orthodox followers to live according to the instructions of the bible and the extra-biblical books used by rural priests, as a proof to their belief in the orthodox Tewahedo teaching is also mainly syncretized. P’ent’ay Christians use the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity as previous to the 1960s as their own history.
Protestantism is a recent religious movement in Ethiopia. It has four major denominations kale Heywet, Mekane Yesus, Mulu Wongel, Meserete Kirstos. Protestants in Ethiopia known as Pentay. As orthodox Christians, they believe in Jesus Christ. But in protestant Ethiopia religion, there are no institutionalized fasting days, also the gospel Mezmur is different in instrument usage. Therefore, the orthodox church also doesn’t accept some ideas raised by protestants and vice versa.
The protestant church has no their own calendar just like orthodox Christians and Muslims but celebrates many holidays with orthodox Christians like new year, Easter and Christmas.
Even though some of the older generations of singers didn’t have the financial means to make tapes, they have an impact on Ethiopian music in various ways while singing in local churches. These are the early singers are Addisu Worku, Leggesse Watro, the Araya family who started to sing on Misrach Dimts radio. Mekane Yesus church controlled the way in translating hymnals from the Swedish and adapting from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church.
In the early 1970s, the Meserete Kristos church choir was founded. Some from Tsion choir from Mulu Wongel joined the recently established choir and Meserete Kristos continued making songs in Ethiopian languages. These are the later coming singers in the late 20th century Kalkidan Tilahun (lily) of Kale Hiywet church, Ahavah gospel singers, Dagmawi Tilahun (Dagi) of Mulu Wongel church and elias abebe of the assemblies of god church.
Others are Awtaru Kebede, Sophia Shibabaw, Mesfin Gutu, Mihiret Itefa, Lealem Tilahun (Lali), Gezahegn Muse, Azeb Hailu and many more. There are also singers who teach in churches (pastors), some of them are Dawit Molalign, Kasshaun Lemma, and Yohannes Girma. In the Tigrinya language, there are well-known gospel singers like Yonas Haile, Mihret Gebretatios, Selam Hagos, Ruth Mekuria, Yemane Habte, And Adhanom Teklemariam And Duos Like Yonatan And Sosuna.
Nowadays the number of protestant Christians in Ethiopia increasing in number more than any other Ethiopia religion.
5. Traditional Ethiopia Religion
Traditional beliefs many Ethiopians believe in the existence of evil eye (Buda) both Muslims and Christians. This misfortune is caused by another’s greed. For example, when people too, much admire a child it makes the baby sick. There are also many traditional belief systems in a tribal group for example we can take the Oromo traditional religion which is called Waaqe Ffannaa, the overall creator is called waqa.
Generally, Ethiopia has many religions they respect each other. Also, in Ethiopia there exist many sacred places. Peoples go out from one region to the other ones or more in the year to celebrate religious holidays. Unlike the violent history of conflict, where it was a scramble for imposition and conversion to declare an official state Ethiopia religion by whatever means necessary, nowadays the followers of Islam and the followers of Christianity live harmoniously, side by side, and even support each other during festivities, fasting and holidays.
In prevalence, the statistics are not constant, but there is almost an equal number of Muslims and Christians throughout Ethiopia. Both religions have come to an understanding of tolerance and perhaps even fraternity, whereby they protect each other from the various shams that threaten to destabilize their establishments, such as terrorism and radicalism for instance.
Within the particular sects of the individual religions, Islam is not divided, and the Islamic doctrine of Ethiopia is almost comparable to that of Saudi Arabia. In Christianity however, there are three major sects, the traditional and ancient orthodox Christianity, Catholicism introduced twice by means of emperor Susenyos and the Jesuit expedition, and Protestantism with its many different subdivisions alone. Of course, each religious sub-sect functions autonomously, and of course there is expansion, but there are strong respect and civil handling of doctrinal matters, and that is true more and more nowadays.