Festival Attractions

Festival Attractions

Orthodox Christianity and Islam, the two main religions in Ethiopia, have coexisted since Mohammed,s time. The first believers in Islam were converted while the prophet Mohammed was alive and the first mosque was built in the eighth century. However, culturally the Orthodox Church has dominated the political, social, and cultural life in the highlands, as it has been official religion of the imperial court and hence also of the feudal establishment until Haile Selassie was deposed in 1974. Since the religion and state have been separated

In General festivals/ Celebrations in Ethiopia are great and colorful events, mostly religious, and frequently take place over several days. During the festivals days People dress in traditional costume and celebrate festivals across the country.

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History of Christianity in Ethiopia

Ethiopians date the coming of Christianity to Ethiopia to the fourth century AD, when a Christian philosopher from Tyre named Meropius was shipwrecked on his way to India. Meropius died but his two wards, Frumentius and Aedesius were washed ashore and taken to the royal palace. Eventually they became King Ella Amida’s private secretary and royal cupbearer respectively. They served the king well, and Frumentius became regent for the infant prince Ezana when Ella Amida died. Frumentius and Aedesius were also permitted to proselytize the new religion in AXUM (as modern Ethiopia was then known). After some time, Frumentius and Aedesius returned to the Mediterranean, traveling down the Nile through Egypt to do so. When they reached Egypt, Frumentius contacted bishop Euthanasias of Alexandria and begged him to send missionaries back to AXUM, as the people there had proved so ready to receive the gospel.

Athanasius agreed that the need was urgent, and immediately appointed Frumentius to the task, which needed someone fluent in the language and sensitive to the customs of AXUM. He ordained Frumentius the first Abuna or bishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Frumentius has since come to be known as the Abuna Salama or bishop of peace. His mission was successful and, with the support of king Ezana, Ethiopia became a Christian nation.

History of Islam in Ethiopia

The coming of Islam into the Middle East and North Africa only three centuries later isolated it from the rest of Christendom. The Ethiopian highlands at that time were primarily Christian in the North-East, Judaic in the North-West and mostly animist in the South. When Prophet Mohammad was threatened of being destroyed by his opponents he sent his close family members and followers of his new religion to go to Ethiopia where he believed they could be safe and treated with respect and dignity.

“The Prophet Mohammed realized that he could not protect his followers form the attacks, and said ‘go to the Habesha, there is a Christian king there. There is justice in his kingdom. Habesha is the land of truth. Therefore, go there until we achieve victory with the help of Allah.” ~ Ibn Eshaq Bilal (an Ethiopian) was Prophet Mohammad’s first Muaddhin/Muezzin in Islam throughout his lifetime he was the person appointed in the mosque to lead, and recite, the call to prayer (adhan azzan) for every event of prayer and worship in the mosque.