A nation is made up of multiple elements to be sovereign, strong, and competent in the world arena. Tribes make up most of the proportion compared to the other elements because that’s what makes a nation unique and special regarding language, culture, and tradition.
Ethiopia is well known for its diversified ethnic group’s settlement across the country. This ethnic group may arise out of many major tribes.
There are about 83 ethnic groups, Ethiopia tribes, in the country which make the country one of those few countries that own multiple languages, culture, and tradition. In Africa, there are also so many Ethiopia tribes and ethnic groups.
Ethiopia is the second diversified and populated country in the continent next to Nigeria. Nigeria is the most diversified and populated country in the continent, there are more than 200 ethnic groups and Ethiopia tribes which make the country rich in culture, language, and tradition.
Ethiopian customs, language, tradition, way of life and so many cultures are the combined output of each tribe.
Nowadays there are some major foods, language, and cultural clothes which serve as the national icon and symbol which initially may be owned by some Ethiopia tribes. So, in the process of building a nation, Ethiopia tribes contribute a lot of culture and tradition to be called the country as a whole.
It might be very hard to determine the real number of each tribe and
ethnic group in the country. Some of them are very small, for instance, their number could fall between 100 and 1000. Whereas the others have a population of millions.
The other factor which makes the determination of the number hard is their way of life. Many ethnic groups are nomadic and have no contact with the government and the rest of the world as well.
There are a few ethnic groups with any number of speakers and members. These Ethiopia tribes occupy more than half of the population of the country.
Ethiopia Tribes List
Oromo 34.5%, Amhara 26.9%, Somali 6.2%, Tigray 6.1% Sidama 4%, Gurage 2.5%, Wolayta 2.3% are those major groups with their population ratio.
Amhara Is the largest ethnic group next to Oromiya. One-fourth of the total population belong to this group. Their official language is one of the nation’s working languages called Amharic. It belongs to the afro Asiatic language category, the language is related to Geez which is literally the orthodox Christian language.
Some scholars also relate the language with Arabic and Hebrew. They are located in the northern part of the country in a region called Amhara. The group was highly dominant in the leading position or they were highly advanced in governing and leading the country when referred to history.
Ethiopia Tribes Religion
The dominant religion in the region is Christianity and Islamism. About 90 % of the total population is a farmer and lives in a rural
area. Corn, Malt, Barley, Sorghum, and teff are some of the major crops they produce.
Their culture is rich in verbal folklore in the form of religious teaching
and saying, proverb, myth, and legends. These verbal folklores play a vital role in teaching and shaping society. Amhara’s family culture is patriarchal in which the male is the head of the family and takes superiority over the female.
As they live in the cold and highland area their clothing is designed to
prevent heat loss. But most of them prefer to wear the native dress which is called Gabi or Netela and the naming is based on the thickness of the cloth. The region is also well known in a cultural, historical, and religious heritage which mainly links them with the early civilization of the country.
Oromo Ethiopia Tribes
Lalibela, Fasil castle, Lake Tana, and other cultural ceremonies are few of the heritages the region owns. Oromo is the highly populated and largest ethnic group in the country.
33.8 % of the total country population is members and speakers of this group. Afan Oromo is the language spoken in this group and it is the most widely spoken language in Africa next to Arabic, Hausa, and Swahili. The language is a family of Cushitic languages. They are located in the southeastern part of Ethiopia, They also live in some parts of North Kenya.
The highly developed oral tradition but they also developed their own writing system using a Latin alphabet called Qubee. The group divided into two major clans or Ethiopia tribes which are The Borena Oromo and Barentu Oromo.
The Borena Oromo are the pastoralist group and they occupy the southern part of the country and Northern Kenya. Shewa, Kafa, Illubabor, Welega, Jimma, and Sidamo belongs to the Borena Oromo. Whereas the Barentu Oromo occupied the eastern part of the Oromia region. Hararghe, Arsi, Ble, Dire Dawa, and other similar clans belong to the Barentu Oromo family.
They have their own traditional religion called waaqeffanna but currently, there is also some other religion widely worshiped in the region. The Oromo peoples are also known for their own governing system called Gadaa system. The system is the icon of the tribe which makes them the first to practice democracy in the early period. The system guide and shapes the social, political, economic, and cultural values of the people.
Generally, there is three main body of the Gadaa system which are the General assembly (also called gmigayo and it is the legislative body), Gadaa council (a collective member of the gadaa), and Qalu assembly (religious organ).
Ireecha is the major holiday they have and it is about thanking their god (Waqqaa) for making the season change from the rainy one to the sunny one without any natural harm and accident.
Northern Ethiopia Tribes
Tigray is the third largest populated tribe in the country next to Oromiya and Amhara. The tribe has 4.9 million people across the region and the country. They are located in the northern highland of the country and settled high plateau. Tigrigna is the official language of the tribe that belongs to the Semitic language family and it is highly related to Hebrew, Arabic, and Amharic languages.
As Amhara and Oromo, this tribe also developed the verbal skill of narrating history and other significant event happened in the region which has historical significance to them. Christianity dominates in the region and it is believed the ancient Axum was the route to introduce Christianity in the country. Islamism is also another major religion in the region next to Christianity.
Most holidays in the region are related to the church calendar and
major events. Tigray is rich in cultural, historical, and traditional heritage which makes the region the most preferable and advanced route for tourism.
Southern Ethiopia Tribes
Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples for short SNNPR is the most diversified and home for different unique tribes and ethnic groups in Ethiopia. There is over 45 indigenous ethnic group in the region which make a bit hard to study the individual group because for some of the Ethiopia tribes there are no specific documented materials. Sidama is the largest ethnic group in the region, there are about three million people in this group.
They are located in the southern part of the country around a city called Hawasa. Most of the people are protestant. Sidaamu-Afoo is the language they speak. Gurage is also the other largest and populated tribe in the region and 2.5 % of the total population of the country belongs to this group.
They are located in the southwest part of Ethiopia and the tribe is known for its variety of cultural foods. Wolayta is the third most populated region in the region. There are about 1.7 million people in the region which is 2.3 % of the total country’s population.
There are some few interesting tribe lives in the southern part of Ethiopia as well. Mursi, Bodi, Hamar, and Surma tribes are some of those few interesting and unique Ethiopia tribes in the region. The Mursi tribe has about 7,500 people and they have a tribal lifestyle.
In general, their beliefs, language, and practice falls into a category called Animism. Many say It is odd and inappropriate to make Mursi women wear lip plates which is their strong way of showing beauty combined with body painting.
Omo Ethiopia Tirbes
The Bodi tribes are located near to or the same place where the Mursi people reside. They have a ceremony of choosing the fattest man of the year and to be champion of this ceremony most men spend their time eating foods with high calories to get fat and be the champion.
Usually, this event takes place around June. Hamer is another tribal clan that also lives in the southern region of the country. Most tourists and Ethiopia are familiar with the name hammer and their traditions and culture as well. One of their unique and interesting tradition is
Bull-jumping is a ceremony which men do to show and test age transition. The Surma tribe is also a tribal clan that has a similar lifestyle to the above-mentioned Ethiopia tribes. All the above tribes live in a similar way; they have a traditional lifestyle and maintain their life by raising goats and some other cattle.
Omo Valley Ethiopia Tribes
East Ethiopia Tribes
Afar tribe is the other highly populated clan in the country. They are located in the northeast part of Ethiopia in a region called afar. Their official language is afar language and it is the Cushitic family language. Almost all people of this tribe are Islam. They live nomadic lifestyles and raise cattle and camels. Their land is extremely arid consisting of stone and sand.
Culturally their tribe is classified into two subclasses which are The Asaimara and the Adoimara. The former one is commonly known as the red class consisting of noble and highly respected members of the clan. The latter is also known as a white class that consists of the common dweller of the tribe.