The culture of Ethiopia has a wide diversity. There are influences from Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, India, and Italy. There are also other influences in the cuisine, music, and religion.
Among many traditional customs, respect (especially of one's elders) is important. In Ethiopian culture, it is customary to rise up out of one's seat or give up one's bed for an older friend or family member, even if they may be just a year older.
Women's traditional clothes in Ethiopia are made from cloth called shemma and used to make habesha qemis: it is basically cotton cloth, about 90 cm wide, woven in long strips which are then sewn together. Sometimes shiny threads are woven into the fabric for an elegant effect. It takes about two to three weeks to make enough cloth for one dress. The bottom of the garment or shirt may be ornamented with patterns. Men wear pants and a knee-length shirt with a white collar, and perhaps a sweater. Men often wear knee-high socks, while women might not wear socks at all. Men as well as women wear shawls, the neTela. The shawls are worn in a different style for different occasions. When going to church, women cover their hair with them and pull the upper ends of the shawl about their shoulders reproducing a cross (meskelya), with the shiny threads appearing at the edge. During funerals, the shawl is worn so the shiny threads appear at the bottom (madegdeg). Women's dresses are called habesha qemis. Thedresses are usually white with some color above the lower hem. Bracelets and necklaces of silver or gold are worn on arms and feet to complete the look. A variety of designer dinner dresses combining traditional fabric with modern style are now worn by some ladies in the cities. These traditional clothes are still worn on a day-to-day-basis in the countryside. In cities and towns, western clothes are popular, though on special occasions, such as New Year (Enkutatash), Christmas (Genna) or weddings, some wear traditional clothes.
Often, a woman will cover her head with a shash, a cloth that is tied at the neck. Shama and kuta, gauze-like white fabrics, are often used. This is common among both Muslim and Christian women. Elderly women will wear a sash on a day-to-day basis, while other women only wear a sash also called a netela while attending church.
The Ethiopian cuisine consists of various vegetable or meat side dishes and entrees, often prepared as a wat or thick stew. One or more servings of wat are placed upon a piece of injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter and made out of fermented teffflour. One does not eat with utensils, but instead uses injera (always with the right hand) to scoop up the entrees and side dishes. Traditional Ethiopian food does not use any pork orseafood (aside from fish), as most Ethiopians have historically adhered to Islam, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, or Judaism, all of which prohibit eating pork. Additionally, throughout a given year, Orthodox Christians observe numerous fasts (such as Lent), during which food is prepared without any meat or dairy products. Another food eaten in Ethiopia is Doro wat, which is chickenstew with hard boiled eggs.
Track and field is Ethiopia's most successful sport, in which they have won many medals in the Olympic Games. Football is the most popular sport in Ethiopia. Despite lack of success by the national team, it is supported by a significant part of the population.
Radio and television are under the control of the Ethiopian government. There are nine radio broadcast stations, eight AM and one shortwave, licensed to operate. The major radio broadcasting stations (all AM) are Radio Ethiopia, Radio Torch (pirate), Radio Voice of One Free Ethiopia, and the Voice of the Revolution of Tigray. The single television broadcast network is Ethiopian Television. In keeping with government policy, radio broadcasts occur in a variety of languages. Print media, because of high poverty levels, low literacy rates, and poor distribution outside of the capital, serve only a small portion of the population. Major daily newspapers include Addis Zemen, the Daily Monitor, and the Ethiopian Herald. There is also a small but lively film industry.