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"BEING INVITED TO SOMEONE'S HOME" Top 5 Page for this destination Ethiopia Local Custom Tip by DAO

Ethiopia Local Customs: 83 reviews and 200 photos

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I will give you a concise explanation of what to do if you are invited to someone’s home. First – you need to take a gift with you. This is traditionally ‘Bhuna’ or raw coffee. You can buy this at a lot of small kiosk shops. If you have some duty free spirits – this highly prized. Just make sure you have a gift for the Hostess – as the Lady of the House will do the next bit.

You will walk in the house which will have free grass strewn across the floor. This is a traditional greeting and to show you that you are welcome and that things are fresh and clean to honour you coming to their home.

Next is the Coffee Ceremony. Without all the details here, just remember to waft the smoke towards you and smile when the roasted beans are presented to you. Drink the 3 cups of coffee and thank the hostess. Please do not decline the coffee. They pop popcorn at the same time, so please have a few bites.

Next is the Hand Washing Ceremony (sen'na bert). The Hostess brings along a towel, a basin, water and soap. She pours warm water over the fingers of each person's right hand, while holding a basin to catch the excess water. Pray you are not left handed here.

Next you are expected to eat first.

Eating Injera means tearing off some of the ‘bread’ and scooping up some of the ingredients. Take small amounts to start and you do not put your fingers in your mouth or touch your tongue. Good luck. As it’s a shared dish, you do not have to eat everything. You will be offered rolls of additional injera. Do not eat more than you want. You will be asked if you want something to drink. If they send one of the children out to the store for a beer, offer the child money and they will bring the change.

After you eat, another hand washing ceremony. That’s it. Afterwards you may be invited to stay. Do not be afraid to get any household of neighbour kids to run to the store for more drinks if it looks like everyone is staying for such matters.

Thank your host!

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 4, 2014
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