TABOOS IN ETHIOPIA

FOOD

"While I cannot imagine how someone can actually enjoy eating raw meat, I find it surprising that Ethiopians consider as taboo when it comes to different kinds of foods widely accepted in the world" Clara's comment.

Indeed while Ethiopians have unique practices and norms, they are at the same time selective about what to eat. In most parts of Ethiopia only the following kind of meat are considered as edible:

- Different kinds of fish;

- Goat, sheep, oxen, chicken

All sorts of meat outside these categories are not edible, especially among Orthodox Christians and Muslims communities. It is not that they are not only eaten: they are often considered as taboo.

RELIGIOUS ISSUES

For someone who comes from a civilization where people openly debate the existence of God, this might make the Ethiopian society a bit conservative. Unless you are talking to a somewhat acculturated Ethiopian, it is not acceptable that someone makes what are considered insulting or degrading remarks towards religious values. More so in rural areas where ancient values are kept intact.

HOMOSEXUALITY

One remembers the days where gay people used to be exposed to physical abuse by their communities in the western hemisphere. While at present the rights of gay people is being respected in different parts of the globe, it won't happen anytime soon in Ethiopia. The good news is people are not attacked for being gay anymore. But it is not a matter to discuss and most importantly show in public. Such acts in public places will create havoc.

OPEN SEXUAL DISCUSSIONS

This has been and still remains an area that several NGOs in Ethiopia are trying hard to change. In most parts of Ethiopia sex remains something that people indulge in and not something to discuss about. Due to the failure of parents to have open discussions with their adolescent children is considered by many as one of the reasons for the widespread of HIV in the last decade or so. It is not just with children: many Ethiopians do not discuss their marital sexual life even with friends. It even goes down to the level where a majority of couples do not even talk about their sexual preferences.

 

DRESSING IN A WAY THAT CATCHES ATTENTION WHILE VISITING A CHURCH OR MONASTERY

The imposition on women to cover their body and hair with long dresses and shawls is finaly fading away, even in rural parts of Ethiopia. Women have now the freedom to pick whatever cloth they want. However in places with religious importance it is not acceptable to wear something that attracts the attention of the oposite sex. A man or woman who does not do so will not be condemned in any way but doing so, internally atleast, is considered as taboo.

Related links

- FACTS ABOUT ETHIOPIANS

- DO NOT BE SHOCKED

- DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND

-LEARN BASIC ETHIOPIAN CUSTOMS

-MUST KNOW ETHIOPIAN NORMS AND CUSTOMS

 

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