Don’t you wish you had more time at the end of the year? Ethiopians manage to squeeze a short 13th month to the end of theirs, culminating with the end of the rainy season and the emergence of little, yellow wildflowers across the countryside. This September holiday commemorates the return of the Queen of Sheba […]

They did not change the date. We did. Today across Orthodox traditions worldwide, Christians are celebrating Christmas –including Ethiopians. These churches continue to follow the Julian calendar, while the rest of us out west switched to the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century.1 It is not a celebration of the Epiphany. While the 12 days […]

Edna, my sister-in-law, called me on Friday evening: I know this is super last minute, but I just found out that there’s a big event at the park to celebrate today’s Ethiopian holiday. It’s about the finding of the one true cross, and— I cut her off. You mean Ethiopia not only has the Ark […]

On the day we hiked to see the waterfall in Bahir Dar, I had been fighting signs of the ferenge1 sickness—the common food-borne illness suffered by foreign visitors. When we awoke the next day, I begged to skip out on our tour of the monastery-filled islands on Lake Tana … but my begging was not […]

I can’t remember when I first learned about the Queen of Sheba’s love affair with King Solomon. In fact, I think I tried to correct my Ethiopian friends, “You mean Samson and Delilah, right?” And besides, why do memories of childhood Sunday-school classes keep resurrecting themselves in the context of Ethiopian emperors? The trouble is […]

The news reached us the morning after I posted my last story. Three friends of my brother-in-law had been killed in a highway traffic accident during the prior evening’s rush hour. One friend, his closest, had been injured and was in critical condition. I had met two of the boys in passing on one or […]

So our tour guide leads us through a series of panels depicting familiar Bible stories — the parting of the Red Sea, the birth of Jesus, the exile into Egypt — then he points to the image above and says, “And this picture shows when St. George slayed the dragon.” My Roman Catholic education must […]