With a population of about 60 million, the Ethiopian people comprise about 80 nationalities of which the Oromo and the Amhara constitute the majority, with about 60 percent of the total population.
There are three language families in Ethiopia: Semitic, Chushitic and Nilotic. The official language is Amharic. The language of the Semitic immigrants survive in Geez, the liturgical language of the churches, though it is no longer spoken.
The working languages of the national/regional governments may differ according to regions.
Languages such as Tigrigna in the northern part, Amharic in the north-west and central part, Harari in Harar, Guragigna with different dialects in the southern part of the country are Semitic origin .
The Script used is developed from ancient Sabean characters written from left to right. There are 33 basic letters which generate over 231 modifications indicating different following vowels.
The Cushitic languages have been untouched by Semitic influence and remain purely hermitic in character. Some of these important languages are Oromigna which is almost widely spread all over and Somali in the eastern part of the country.
The different languages of the Nilotic group are almost as numerous as the tribes that compose it.
Peoples & Culture:
With over 80 nationalities and over 73 languages of different dialects, the beginning of Ethiopian culture, like the history of the country, has its roots in prehistoric times. This culture and tradition is characterized in both its Christian and Muslim religious and material aspects by contribution from various sources - from the several racial strains which compose the population.
Together with the religions, went the development of material culture. Since the dominant feature in the history of Ethiopia has been the struggle to maintain its religious and political freedom, fortresses and fortifications were erected.
In the period of the Axumite Kingdom a number of towering obelisks were erected, which are unique among the monuments of the world.
The Ethiopian Literature began during the Axumite period which enjoyed a brilliant renaissance on the restoration of the Solomonic dynasty.
With traditions going back to the days of Axum, and strong religious settings, celebrations and festivals play an important part in the daily life styles of the peoples. The greatest festivals such as Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year), Meskal, Gena(Ethiopian Christmas), Id Al Fetir(Ramada), Timket (Epiphany), Id Al Adaha(Arafa), Easter and Maulid are all glorious celebrations.
Christianity and Islamic religions are the dominantly co-existing faiths in the country. However, a complete religious freedom is enjoyed in the country.
The introduction of Christianity into Ethiopia began by the conversion of the Ethiopian Ambassador to Christianity by the Apostle Philip a few months after the crucifixion (New Testament, Acts of Apostles, 8 - 27).
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