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Celebrating Ethiopian New Year Part 2

Hi everyone! I'm back with part two of my post about Ethiopian New Year. 

Amandla originally joined the firm as a summer business analyst in Minneapolis. She spent her third BA year in Lagos before departing to earn her MBA/MPA at Harvard University. In early 2017 she returned home and re-joined us in our Nairobi office, where she works on public sector transformations in taxes and agriculture (and sometimes moonlights in retail banking).

Hi everyone! I'm back with part two of my post about Ethiopian New Year.  I wanted to share two more interesting aspects of this special celebration. 

The first is called the eskista ("shoulder dance"). This is a dancing nation! The distinctive eskista is danced by both men and women and is unmistakable for its intense shoulder movements. It is quite a technical dance, but anytime a popular song comes on the radio, every child, young adult, elderly person knows how to eskista. In many of the Ethiopian dances I've seen, dancers hold their heads held high, chests open...a sign of pride and honor; incredibly important values in this proud nation with an incredibly rich history: from the Kushitic civilization that preceded what we now call the Egyptian civilization, to Ethiopia's reverence in Greek History in the IIliad and Homer, to Emperor Haile Selassie I (the "Father" of modern Africa). If you saw this post on our McKinsey Women Facebook page, you caught the video of the McKinsey team trying to learn eskista.

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Traditional coffee ceremony

The second is the traditional coffee and popcorn ceremonies. An invitation to attend a coffee ceremony in Ethiopia is considered a mark of friendship and respect. Lots of coffee, no milk, a side of popcorn (or peanuts) and a very elaborate and lavish preparation and serving. Three rounds of coffee is considered polite, with the third one a blessing. Fun fact: the coffee plant was first discovered in the Kaffa region in Ethiopia in the 11th century (depending on who you ask).

Until next time,