Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world that does not have a history of colonization. The colors of the Ethiopia flag, because of this, have since become known as the Pan-African colors and other countries adopted the same colors when they reached independence. The official Ethiopia flag has three equal horizontal bands of color in the order of green, yellow, and red with green being at the top of the flag. There is a yellow pentagram in the middle of the flag with yellow rays emanating from the pentagram. The pentagram is one a blue disc, once again in the middle of the flag.
The yellow pentagram is actually the symbol of the current government in Ethiopia and has no religious significance as many that know of the Ethiopia flag may think. The pentagram on the blue disc is, in fact, the national coat of arms and is intended to reflect the desire of the nations and people of Ethiopia to live together in unity and harmony. Other governments before the current one had their own identifying figures on the flag in the middle, including the Lion of Judah that the late Emperor Haile Sellassie had on the flag. The coat of arms has changed with government change, but the color scheme of the flag always has remained the same.
The plain tricolor flag was the most widespread flag in the history of Ethiopia. This version of the Ethiopia flag, despite simply being the base of the current flag, is simple to manufacture and distribute. This makes it the flag of choice for supporters of Ethiopia as you will often see them waving or showing the simple tricolor flag instead of one with the center emblem intact. This does not appear to have any political significance but is, rather, the notion of cost of production meeting the widespread production of the flag to the masses.
The flag with the center emblem does appear on all current government documents in Ethiopia and anything to do with ceremonies or government proceedings. In courtrooms and any governmental agencies, the full Ethiopia flag will clearly be displayed. From buildings or homes, however, of the citizens the flag may be flown without the center emblem in place. The Ethiopians are very proud of their flag and display it with honor and pride in a variety of locations.
Learning about Ethiopia culture has a lot to do with learning about the people of the country. The Amhara are the dominant people class in Ethiopia, representing the culturally dominant people of Ethiopia. They are located in the highlands of Ethiopia and make up the major portion of the population of the country, especially in areas such as Begemder and Gojjam. The Amhara are also the most populated groups of people in Ethiopia, comprising a majority of Ethiopia culture in a numerical sense as well. In fact, it is estimated that about one third of the people of Ethiopia belongs to the Amhara sensibility and represent that people group.
Languages spoken in Ethiopia are also an important part of learning about Ethiopia culture. The most major languages spoken in Ethiopia are Amharic, Tigrinya, Somali, and Arabic. English is the major foreign language taught in most schools. Ethiopia has a literacy rate of around 23 percent of the 67 million people that live there. There are about 400 thousand people in Ethiopia that are legally blind and about half of that being considered legally deaf. This accounts for the literacy rate and the cultural understanding of language as being often confusing. The number of languages that are listed as being current in Ethiopia is a staggering 84.
Other Cultural Influences
Language and people type are just a part of the overall Ethiopia culture makeup. Religion is one of the most accepted parts of everyday life in Ethiopia. It is a commonly understood fact of life for the people of this country, creating a sense of religion in the language and in the way people speak. The notion of God is often spoken of in normal conversation and interaction. Christianity is the dominant religion in Ethiopia, but there are some pockets of followers of Islam. Amazingly enough, the two religious groups coexist peacefully in the areas that they are both present in.
There are several festivals and celebrations that are featured in Ethiopia culture. The people of Ethiopia love to celebrate and love to recognize important historical events. This leads to a plethora of festivals at which the best clothes are worn, food and drink flow, and people dance and sing in the streets. The mood of celebration is high in Ethiopia culture and forms into a lot of spontaneous celebration as well. National holidays recognize liberation and defeat of the Italians in various celebrations.