The Amhara

The name Amhara means "pleasing, agreeable, beautiful, and gracious," and these beautiful people have truly impacted Ethiopia for centuries.  The Amhara are a very influential people group who live in north central Ethiopia, close to Adis Ababa.  Their descendants probably came originally from what is now Yeman.  They trace their lineage all the way to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; the ancient King Menelik I.  They carried that same ancestral line all the way to 1974 with Emperor Haile Selassie.

The Amhara have a strongly Jewish culture because of their roots, and this has impacted much of their life.  Also, about 50 % of the Amhara are part of what is known as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which is an ancient Christian church founded around the 4th century.  They were heavily influenced by Syrian and Coptic Christianity, and were able to maintain their Christianity even as Islam penetrated the rest of northeast Africa.  Because of the distance between the western Christian church and the Ethiopian church there have been many rituals and customs that have developed which are unique to the Ethiopian church.  These include some baptising rituals and fasting.  Fasting is extremely important to Amhara Christians; the faithful of which should fast about 250 days per year.  In order to be a good Christian you should fast 180 days at least.

The traditional attire of the Amhara is a basic white, worn by both men and women.  Their food is known as injera bo wot.  Injera is a flat bread and wot is either a meat or beans mixture placed on top.  Amharan food takes a long while to prepare, and has a distinct taste that can be either loved or hated!

Marriage is arranged by the family's and divorce and remarriage are allowed.  Right now life is very difficult for the Amhara because of the constant lack of water and deforestation which is taking place throughout the whole country and 85% live a day's walk from any sort of road.     

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