culture and customs
social institutions

family life
food security
justice and crime
social relationships
traditional skills

introducing the area

spiritual beliefs

 quotes about spiritual beliefs
 key testimonies featuring spiritual beliefs

All but two of the narrators are Christians and for the most part attach considerable importance to their religion: one narrator (Ethiopia 15) says that their religious devotion is what distinguishes Meket people from others, although another (Ethiopia 5) comments sadly that religion is gradually dying out. Beliefs appear to be derived both from the tenets and traditions of the Orthodox Church and from a Christianised folklore. Several narrators associate community traditions of welfare and neighbourliness with faithfulness to the teachings of the Church. They also attribute diseases and increased hardship to such practices as adultery that are condemned as sinful and therefore punishable by God. Two narrators are Muslims from the lowlands (Ethiopia 9 and Ethiopia 10). Their testimonies include some description of traditional Islamic festivals and customs; both emphasise the importance of religious education and of learning the Koran.

quotes about spiritual beliefs

"The people of Meket are strict Orthodox Christians. They also claim to be the descendants of a dejazmach (feudal nobleman). In the old days a person would never betray his friend to death. One sacrificed his life for his friend for the sake of his love."
Berhanu, M/70, farmer, Ethiopia 5

"We worship at our churches. We believe in one God and do not worship other deities. Of course, we have no access to the Holy Tablet, but we do kiss the objects consecrated in its name, for example, a juniper tree dedicated to St. George. For me that is like worshipping God."
Ayichesh, F/28, head of household, Ethiopia 1

"There are too many churches for me to count them. Perhaps there are over a hundred monasteries with monks in them. There are hermits living in the wilderness and feeding on leaves and wearing caps and sleeveless garments made from palm tree leaves. There is St. Michael near our area. Some hermits live in caves not far from here."
Lemlem, F/67, farmer/nun, Ethiopia 3

"We give [the poor and disabled] breakfast and coffee in the morning at the mosque. We contribute one tenth of what money we have and we give this to the weak and disabled. Our religion requires that we do this and it is forbidden to use this money for ourselves."
Haji Zekiy, M/57, Qadi (Muslim religious leader and judge), Ethiopia 9

key testimonies featuring spiritual beliefs

  No.   Name   Sex/Age   Occupation   Location  
Summary Transcript   1   Ayichesh   female/28   head of household   Gala Dejen (highlands)  
Summary Transcript   10   Hamza   male/28   farmer   Gumar  
Summary Transcript   12   Mesele   male/55   farmer   Jirile (midlands)  
Summary Transcript   13   Mesay   male/28   farmer   Meqerretcha/Denkenna (highlands)  
Summary Transcript   14   Itiye   female/58   traditional midwife   Gebeya Meda (highlands)  
Summary Transcript   15   Muliye   male/37   farmer   (midlands)  
Summary Transcript   16   Mekonen   male/72   priest   Ganchire Gebriel  
Summary Transcript   18   Belachew   male/68   farmer and blacksmith   Geregera (midlands)  
Summary Transcript   19   Yaregal   male/41   farmer trained in beekeeping   Warkaye  
Summary Transcript   3   Lemlem   female/67   farmer/ nun   Woina Dega (midlands)  
Summary Transcript   4   Zewde   female/38   housewife   Highlands  
Summary Transcript   5   Berhanu   male/70   farmer   Flaqit (lowlands)  
Summary Transcript   7   Belay   male/41   blacksmith/farmer   Doba Giorgis (highlands)  
Summary Transcript   9   Haji Zekiy   male/57   Qadi (Muslim religious leader)   Tcherqos village (highlands)