An Ethiopian Orthodox Christian congregation is sharing its culture and traditions with the community at large through a festival continuing Saturday and Sunday in northwest Oklahoma City.
Ethiopian food, traditional church chants, fashion, music and history will be offered at the Discover Ethiopia Festival hosted by the St. George Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, 11221 N Western.
Church member Robel Gibbe, an Oklahoma City civil engineer, said members are excited about sharing their culture with their neighbors, particularly because they have come to realize that some people don’t know much about Ethiopia.
Gibbe said he arrived in Oklahoma from his native Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, about seven years ago to attend school. He said he and other members of his congregation often answer questions about their native land, and the religious and cultural festival is a way to help satisfy the curiosity of people.
“We have more than 3,000 years of history,” he said. “People would be surprised how much culture and history we have to offer.”
Gibbe said Orthodox Christians live in peace with people of other faith traditions in Ethiopia. He said Orthodox Christians make up about 45 percent of the Ethiopian population, while about 30 percent is Muslim. Gibbe said other Christian faith traditions and other religions also are represented in the African country.
He said visitors will be treated to a variety of Ethiopian cuisine, most notably Ethiopian coffee. A coffee ceremony will be performed during the festival, Gibbe said.
“There’s no such thing as an Ethiopia without coffee,” he said.
Other foods to be offered for sampling include Doro wat, a spicy Ethiopian chicken stew; Ethiopian beef tibs, a type of braised beef dish; and Ingera, which Gibbe described as a spongy bread.
Church members began the festival Friday, and activities are set to continue Saturday and Sunday at the church, on the west side of Western Avenue, between Hefner Road and NW 110.