History lives in Ethiopia. This isn’t history as an abstract and academic discipline. It’s one thing to read history, it’s another to experience it.
By Don Mankin, PhD (The Huffington Post) |
The chanting of the two boys sitting under the tree reminded me of my Bar Mitzvah class over 60 years ago. The language was different – Amharic, not Hebrew – as was the religion – Ethiopian Orthodox, not Jewish — and the boys bore little resemblance to the pudgy, pasty pre-adolescent friends of my youth, but the sounds were eerily similar.
Well, maybe not so eerie. As the ancient crossroads between Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, all kinds of people passed through this region thousands of years ago, depositing customs, practices and ceremonies along the way. In Ethiopia these cultural artifacts have been blended into a melange not unlike the array of food on a disk of injera, the fermented bread that is the staple of the Ethiopian diet.
History lives in Ethiopia. This isn’t history as an abstract and academic discipline. It’s one thing to read history, it’s another to experience it. While the practices, dress and decorations reflect the religious roots of the western world, the familiar is often counterbalanced by the strange in this evocative, mysterious land.
We started in Bahir Dar on Lake Tana, the first stop in the historical circuit. Outside a 14th Century monastery across the lake is where I encountered the two boys sitting under a tree chanting from the Psalms of David.
Continue reading this story on The Huffington Post
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