>> Eight hours ahead, yet seven years behind, Ethiopia is a land where
co;ee is king and good manners may not mean what you think. Master
these tips before chatting with clients about this East African country.
A Time Zone All Its Own
Ethiopia’s o;cial time zone is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 3, making it
eight hours ahead of American Eastern Standard Time. However, Ethiopians
consider the day to begin with sunrise rather than at midnight. Since Ethi-
opia sits on the equator, sunrise is at 6 a.m., and sunset falls at 6 p.m.
all year. What the rest of the world would consider 7 a.m. GMT+ 3,
Ethiopia considers 1:00 (The counting goes all the way to 6 p.m.,
which Ethiopians consider 12:00). Although the tourism industry will
work in both times, locals exclusively use the Ethiopian standard.
Seven Years Ago
Ethiopia uses a solar calendar, which features 12 months of 30 days each,
plus a 13th month of just five or six days. Due to an alternate calculation in
determining the date of the birth of Christ, the calendar is seven to eight
years behind the Gregorian calendar. On Sept. 11, 2016, Ethiopia rang in the
start of 2009.
Ethiopian meals are typically eaten exclusively with your hands using flat,
porous injera bread as a conveyance for other food. The custom of gursha
takes this one step further — allowing hosts to honor their guest by
placing a morsel of food directly into his or her mouth.
Ethiopian co;ee ceremonies are a timeless tradition honoring the origin
of co;ee itself. A ceremony usually lasts a minimum of 90 minutes,
and sometimes much longer. Use this as a time to connect with others,
share news and gossip. Whatever you do, don’t refuse the co;ee.
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sunrise rather than at midnight. Since Ethi-
How to Sound Like an