Eritrea: a Country to be discovered

Ethnic groups and local holidays in Eritrea

In Eritrea nine ethnic groups coexist, these are descendants of merchants, emigrants and colonizers that once lived those lands. Today they are part of the culture and the traditions of Eritrea in a significant way. A description of Abyssinia by the Italian historian Carlo Conti Rossini perfectly describes the ethnic variety of this part of Africa: “A museum of people”.

Tigrinya people: they represent 50% of the population. They are sedentary farmers of orthodox religion.

Tigre people: they represent 30% of the population and live in the north of Eritrea, near the border with Sudan and in the Danakil depression. They are Muslims and both sedentary or nomadic.

Saho people: they represent 5% of the population and live on the coasts and the inlands south of Massawa. They are Muslims.

Afar people: also called Danakil, they represent 5% of the population and live in the coastal areas of the Danakil depression. They are nomadic and Muslim.

Hedareb people: they are a nomadic tribe that represents the 2.5% of the population and live in the northwest of the Country.

Bilen people: they represent 2% of the population and live in the surrounding areas of Keren. They are Christian and Muslim.

Kunama people: they live in the province of Gash-Barka, near the border with Sudan and Ethiopia and represent 2% of the population.

Nara people: also known with the name Baria (that means slave) they represent 1.5% of the population and live in the Barka region. They are Muslim.

Rashaida people: nomadic tribe that represent 0.5% of the population. They are cattlemen of Islamic religion and speak Arabic.

As a consequence, the presence of all these ethnic groups is the cause of many traditions. In particular, because the holidays of Eritrea concern Italian schools as well. Indeed, in Eritrea, the Christian Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim holidays are all celebrated peacefully. During each of these holidays the schools stay closed. For example, the orthodox Christmas and Easter are usually celebrated a week later the catholic ones. The orthodox New Year is celebrated on September 11.

The most important holidays for the Muslims are Id Al Feter, that celebrates the birth of the prophet, Id Al Adha and Ramadan. In the occasion of these holidays as well, the schools respect the tradition and stay closed.

Furthermore, amongst the civil holidays there is Women’s day on March 8; the Eritrean Liberation Day on April 24, and the Martyr’s Day on June 20, all considered very important.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: