In the Ethiopian Orthodox church there are many fasting days throughout the year. In fact, a strict observer of all fasts would be vegan for half the year. The longest of the fasts is Hudadi or the Abiy Tsom, as the Lenten fast leading up to Easter is variously known, and the majority of followers of the Orthodox church fast these 55 days every year.
The fasting season during Hudadi includes abstaining from all animal products – including meat, dairy and eggs – and it is more common to see most of the restaurants serving vegan or vegetarian food. (Vegetarians take note – at most restaurants serving Ethiopian food, you can ask for the ‘fasting’ menu any time of year, and you will receive a platter with a variety of delicious vegetarian dishes to enjoy). Not only is the food during fasting seasons extremely unique and extraordinarily flavorful, but the food culture that makes up Ethiopia is also something most people find truly fascinating.
To begin with, Ethiopian food is eaten with friends and family. The way Ethiopian food is served, on a communal platter, is designed for sharing food with each other. Food is not meant to be eaten alone in Ethiopia’s culture. Feeding someone a bite of food is seen as a very respectable or loving thing to do. It is customary to see people tearing off pieces of injera, scooping up the best bites of delicious stew, and proceeding to feed it to their loved ones – a practice known locally as “gursha.”
Ask Travel Ethiopia to incorporate some special food adventures for your clients during a visit, including favorite restaurants, traditional coffee ceremonies, cooking classes and more!