Salambo discovering Ethiopia
Today is the start of the Holy week according to the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar. It is a very devout week for the Ethiopian Christians who are found mainly in the country’s highlands. People in the lower plains towards the sea and in the north-east Afar region are predominantly muslim. Christians in Ethiopia are practising their religion with great fervour, regularly fasting on some of the week’s days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and attending church without fail. In the forty days up to Easter, during the Lent period, they have been fasting very strictly, removing all animal products from their diet, including eggs, butter and cheese. Some people even fast all day and allow themself only one meagre meal after 5pm in the afternoon. During that time, they eat mainly lentils, beans, chick peas, vegetables and the staple injera bread made of tef. But, they are not allowed to use butter in the preparation as they would normally do.
The upcoming good Friday is a national holiday, being such an important day in the Christian calendar commemorating Christ’s crucifixion. Followers in Ethiopia will spend their day at church confessing and praying without interruption. On Saturday, they will be fasting all day and if they can until the next morning, when they will be able to finally break the fast for the big Easter celebration. On that day, they traditionally eat chicken cooked in a spicy sauce known as dolo wat, with injera of course and a selection of pulses and vegetables cooked in butter. I am told that the price of chicken has gone up a lot because of the increased demand. Families will gather to celebrate together. We see many people already queuing up outside cheap liquor stores to stock up for the big day.