RELIGION IN ETHIOPIA

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RELIGION IN ETHIOPIA
Religion is a secure and accepted element of everyday life in Ethiopia and the language is full of references to God. Yet there is not the ever-present feel that one can experience in a totally Muslim country for example.
On the central plateau, the Ethiopian Orthodox church holds sway, again an individual and fascinating feature of this unusual country. Priests and deacons abound in their often colourful robes, carrying their staffs and ornate crosses that people frequently kiss as they pass.

Christianity came to Ethiopia in ancient times and became the official Ethiopian religion in the 4th century. The Orthodox church has many connections with ancient Judaism. Fasting and detailed food restrictions, the specific ways of slaughtering animals, circumcision and the layout of the churches, all these things make for a very particular religious culture.

Islam is also very strong in many parts of Ethiopia , frequently existing peaceably alongside Christianity. The city of Harar , in the east of the country, is officially the fourth most holy Muslim site in the world.

Ethiopia has communities of 'falashas', Ethiopian Jews, especially in the Gondar region in the north. Many of these however have now departed to live in Israel , having been airlifted out of the country with Operation Solomon and Operation Moses in the latter part of the 20th century.

In the lowland areas, animistic and pagan religions are still commonly found among tribal peoples who live in simple and primitive communities

Information kindly donated by Gondarlink