Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Not just a drink, coffee is a ceremony called bunna maflat, that plays an essential part of Ethiopian social life. The ceremony can take hours and is often conducted by a woman who wears a traditional dress.

The ceremony begins with washing and husking coffee beans on a heated pan. When the beans turn black, they are ground by hand and run through a sieve.
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Then it's slowly stirred into a clay pot known as the jebena.
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Coffee is sweetened with sugar and served in tiny cups for friends and family who've watched the process.
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As the Ethiopian proverb says, "buna dabo naw," or "coffee is our bread."

Ethiopia has same Jesus but Easter is on a different day

The 28th of April is Easter Sunday in 2019 according to the Ethiopian Orthodox and all Eastern Orthodox traditions (rather than the 21 April). This may come as a surprise to many Westerners. But the holiday date is different from the one celebrated in the West because of the position of the sun on their side of the globe and the use of non-Gregorian liturgical calendars.

So I’m sharing this photo and video essay for all to enjoy peering into this magical country filled with bonafide world-wonders.

The following images are from the amazing ancient rock-hewn churches of the Lalibela and Tigray regions in Ethiopia. We were fortunate enough to have visited them with a few fantastic colleagues on a trip organized by the country’s UN Mission (while collecting research footage for my documentary) a few years ago.

A monk sits reading his hand-copied goat-skin parchment scripture book on the steps of Bete Medhante Alem (church of the savior of the world), which was carved out of solid rock several hundred years ago. It’s Lalibela’s largest rock-hewn church. // photo © Kim I. Mott

A monk sits reading his hand-copied goat-skin parchment scripture book on the steps of Bete Medhante Alem (church of the savior of the world), which was carved out of solid rock several hundred years ago. It’s Lalibela’s largest rock-hewn church. // photo © Kim I. Mott

Watch monks singing and chanting together inside the church and in the courtyard just outside, between a cluster of several other churches and stone tombs. 

Ornate carvings on an interior arched doorway next to the thick curtain hiding the Holy of Holies where parchment Bibles are stored and cared for by designated priests. // photo © Kim I. Mott

A canvas painting of dragon-slaying St. George near the stone-carved entrance of a cave-like Lalibela church. // photo © Kim I. Mott

A canvas painting of dragon-slaying St. George near the stone-carved entrance of a cave-like Lalibela church. // photo © Kim I. Mott

A priest reads his handheld prayer book inside a church filled with quiet monks in meditative readings. // photo © Kim I. Mott

A priest reads his handheld prayer book inside a church filled with quiet monks in meditative readings. // photo © Kim I. Mott

A priest stands ready for parishioners to enter a 4th century rock-hewn church in the Tigray region as a nun opens a side-entrance. // photo © Kim I. Mott

A priest stands ready for parishioners to enter a 4th century rock-hewn church in the Tigray region as a nun opens a side-entrance. // photo © Kim I. Mott

Inside, the priest displays an ancient parchment of scriptures in the Amharic language, hand-copied a hundred years before the Bible was translated into English. // photo © Kim I. Mott

Inside, the priest displays an ancient parchment of scriptures in the Amharic language, hand-copied a hundred years before the Bible was translated into English. // photo © Kim I. Mott

Monks and nuns hike to up a Tigray monastery’s church built into a carved-out cliffside hollow for a reading of parchment scriptures. // photo © Kim I. Mott

Monks and nuns hike to up a Tigray monastery’s church built into a carved-out cliffside hollow for a reading of parchment scriptures. // photo © Kim I. Mott

A monk reads aloud by hand-made waxed-wick candlelight. // photo © Kim I. Mott

A monk reads aloud by hand-made waxed-wick candlelight. // photo © Kim I. Mott

Stunning desert landscapes surround several of Tigray’s rock-hewn churches. // photo © Kim I. Mott

Stunning desert landscapes surround several of Tigray’s rock-hewn churches. // photo © Kim I. Mott

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