The coffee ceremony is one of the most well-known aspects of Eritrean culture. When visiting friends, at celebrations, or as a daily need, coffee (Ge’ez bn) is served. There are several customs that are observed throughout the coffee ceremony. The coffee is served in three rounds: the first is known as awel (meaning “first”), the second is known as kalaay (meaning “second”), and the third is known as bereka (meaning “third”) (meaning “to be blessed”).
The ethnic groups of Eritrea wear a wide range of traditional Eritrean clothing. The majority of individuals in the bigger cities dress in Western casual clothing such as jeans and shirts. Suits are worn by both men and women in workplaces. For Christian Tigrinya-speaking highlanders, traditional attire includes brilliant white gowns called zurias for the ladies and white shirts with white trousers for the males. Women in Muslim communities in Eritrea’s lowlands typically wear vividly colored clothing. Aside from comparable culinary preferences, Eritreans like similar music and lyrics, jewelry and perfumes, and tapestries and textiles as do many other people in the Horn.
Injera is a classic Eritrean meal served with a spicy stew that usually contains beef, chicken, lamb, or fish. Overall, Eritrean cuisine is quite similar to Ethiopian cuisine; however, due to their coastal location, Eritrean cookery tends to include more seafood than Ethiopian cuisine. Eritrean cuisine is also “lighter” in texture than Ethiopian cuisine. As with the tsebhi dorho delicacy, they also use less seasoned butter and spices and more tomatoes.
Furthermore, due to its colonial history, Eritrean food has more Italian influences than Ethiopian cuisine, such as more pasta and a larger usage of curry powders and cumin.
When a significant number of Italians came to Eritrea during the Kingdom of Italy’s colonial period, the Italian Eritrean cuisine was born. They introduced “pasta” to Italian Eritrea, and it is now one of the most popular foods in Asmara. ‘Pasta al Sugo e Berbere,’ which translates to “Pasta with tomato sauce and berbere” (spice), is a popular meal, although there are many more, such as “lasagna” and “cotoletta alla milanese” (milano cutlet). People in Eritrea also consume coffee in addition to sowa. Mies, a honey-based alcoholic beverage, is another popular local beverage.
Each ethnic group in Eritrea has its own distinct musical and dance traditions. The guaila is the most well-known Tigrinya traditional musical genre. The stringed krar, kebero, begena, masenqo, and wata (a distant/rudimental cousin of the violin) are among Eritrean folk music’s traditional instruments. Helen Meles, a Tigrinya singer known for her strong voice and broad range of vocal range, is a famous Eritrean musician. Dehab Faytinga, a Kunama singer, Ruth Abraha, Bereket Mengisteab, Yemane Baria, and Abraham Afewerki are among the other notable local artists.
In Eritrea, football and cycling are the most popular sports. Eritrean athletes have seen growing success on the world stage in recent years. Eritrean athlete Zersenay Tadese presently holds the world record in the half marathon race. Every year, the Tour of Eritrea, a multi-stage international cycling race, takes place throughout the country. Eritrea’s national cycling team has had a lot of success, winning the continental cycling championship several times. Six Eritrean cyclists, including Natnael Berhane and Daniel Teklehaimanot, have been recruited to international cycling teams. In 2013, Berhane was awarded African Sportsman of the Year, while Teklehaimanot was the first Eritrean to compete in the Vuelta a Espana in 2012. Teklehaimanot won the Critérium du Dauphine’s King of the Mountains classification in 2015. When the MTN–Qhubeka team picked Teklehaimanot and teammate Eritrean Merhawi Kudus for the 2015 Tour de France, they became the first African riders to participate in the event. Teklehaimanot was also the first African rider to wear the polka dot jersey in the Tour de France in July of this year. Both the men’s and women’s Eritrean cycling national teams are rated #1 on the continent. For the first time in 2013, and for the second time in 2015, the women’s team won gold at the African Continental Cycling Championships.