Souvenirs from Ethiopia
Ethiopian souvenirs are a fantastic way to understand more about the culture and history of the people, and to share that understanding with friends and family on your return home. Wooden pieces, such as carved animals, combs, trays, furniture, games and paintings, are beautiful examples of traditional artisan crafts. Strands of colorfully large beads and hammered silver crosses represent the lovely jewelry available as a souvenir from Ethiopia. In fact, color is a signature of memorabilia from this country. Charming baskets, created from brightly hued paper, fabric and reeds, come in an assortment of sizes and will look marvelous on a desk or dressing table. Embroidered clothing, exuberant scarves, rag dolls and quilts and leather goods, like bags, wallets and belts, are also great finds in the markets. You may also wish to pick up a piece of modern art from one of the galleries in the larger cities, or stuff your suitcase full of postcards, key chains, magnets and T-shirts.
Traditional Ethiopian clothing is worn according to a set of strict rules, creating a distinctive look and souvenir for tourists. Women wear dresses called habesha gemis, made from woven cotton cloth. The cloth itself takes 2-3 weeks to prepare, and can have decorative elements woven into it. The dress is typically worn with a shawl, called a neTela, which is worn in different ways for different occasions. To religious services, the shawl will be worn to cover the hair and shoulder, in a style called meskelya, to echo the outline of a cross. A more casual head covering, called shash, maybe worn on a daily basis, but this is more common among the older population. Bangles made from silver and gold, as well as necklaces, are the finishing touches. Men can also wear the neTela as a part of their outfits of long shirts, down to the knee, and pants.