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Part I. Ceremonies
Part II. History

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eFood Intro

food pages in culture directory
There are several way to read it:

First, the recipes!

Second -- the Art!


And you can follow the stories... Oh, so many of them! Here is the most famous of all!

When you are to cook any Ethiopian dish, you are to travel in time, my friends. You have to go back three thousand years, at least. It will be difficult to go further and write about the day when God created garlic and onions. So, we go to the first millennium BC.
Sheba was a daughter of king and this is how she became the Queen of the South after her father died. The historians say it could be be in Yemen or Ethiopia, but we know that she was yound and beautiful. She was beautiful and rich and she could affort to travel the world. No need to write about the place, where Solomon was the king. The academic researchers say that Sabian kingdom was at the crossroad of Africa, Europe and Asia. The traders talk and she heaqrd of Solomon. Who hadn't? But unlike the rest, she wrote him a letter. Don't ask in what language...
... As in every good story there's a beginning. And as always it's about man and woman. We know the man -- King Solomon. The wise, the powerful, who ended up in disgrace and madness. The Bible doesn't say why. One has to read Ethiopian books to know what really took place then, three thousand years ago.
The Story of QUEEN SHEBA
The book is very old -- "Kebra Negast" -- "The Glory of the Kings." According to a tradition and old books, in the beginning of the Sellassie's family was a love story. Makeda, the young virgin queen, who lived in the Virgin Land, had a dream. That was the name given to Ethiopia -- Virgin Land -- because of the queen. That's how Ethiopia became known for the first time by the world. The capital of her kingdom was Axum. Makeda reigned over parts of Southern Arabia in Sabea, called Sheba, and because of this was called Queen of Axum and Sheba. Sometimes saw was called Saba, by the Ethiopians. Arabs called her Belkis or Bilkis, depending on how you want to spell it.

It were the troubled times when a generation came that would not believe in God unless a sign was shown them. That's why, being angered by their disbelief, Our Lord said, "The Queen of the South shall rise up in judgement with this generation and shall condemn it; for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, one greater than Solomon is here." All books are agreed on that -- Hebrew, Arab and Ethiopian. Sheba was young and beautiful. And Queen Saba said, "And I love him merely on hearing concerning him and without seeing him, and the whole story of him that hath been told me is to me as the desire of my heart, and like water to the thirsty man... Through wisdom I have dived down into the great sea and have seized in the place of wisdom's depth, a great pearl whereby I am rich. I went down like the great iron anchor whereby men anchor ships for the night on the high seas, and I received a lamp which lighted me, and I came up by the ropes of the boat of understanding. I went to sleep in the depths of the sea, and not being overwhelmed with the water, I dreamed a dream. And it seemed to me that there was a star in my womb and I marvelled there at and I laid hold upon it, and it lighted me with the splendor thereof." That's what she wrote to king Solomon. They say that she sent the letter with a pigeon, but we know that the traders brought it to Jerusalem.
And she waited.
She would circle the Temple Agwe before the sun rose. The sun could rise only after the queen had circled the Temple. Agwe, the great serpent, would release the sun and light only after the queen had served him. She walked around the walls of the palace for a longer day -- for the spring to come. She measured time for her people and when they needed rain, the queen would cry.... The serpent was old as the earth, tired of living and listening to people's voices, even to her beautiful voice. She was a woman and had no one to help her to provide for her people. The land was dry and the queen wept a lot.... praying to Agwe, skies, sun, demons....
One night the great king Solomon had a strange dream about the land he never saw and the woman he didn't know. She was there in his dream. (Or was it her dream?) Her name was Saba, and the life of her nation depended on her dreams. Every hour of her life was the hour of her people. Every night she walked into darkness and circled the walls until the birds would start singing and the east sky would get pale. He watched her every night. Her prayers were in long verses, because the queen talked to her gods, not to people: "From the day of vengeance: from the day of doom, How shall the soul escape?.."
He knew her songs. She talked only to the dead, to her ancestors, who were next to the gods. She stood between them and her people. She knew no Living God. She was dark. He could see this dream even in the middle of the day. It would hit him as his own memory, his own pain...
"Queen, our Lord isn't the sun!" cried Solomon in her language he hadn't spoken before. "The Lord created this world, skies and sun, and the sun will rise because He created this world perfect. Do you believe me, queen, that the sun will rise?" She looked at his eyes. "I haven't missed a day. I wouldn't know, my king." Her teeth were a gleaming white and her tongue was an exquisite rose.... The sky above Jerusalem's East Wall became light. The mighty King didn't sleep this night.
And Solomon got angry and he wrote back to Queen Sheba.

King was angry and the dazzling sun came down from the sky. Not the sun of Israel, but the bright disk of liquid gold. It came down and then it moved away. He wanted to stop it, he waited for the return of this African sun. But the sun did not come back to his city. Jerusalem was in darkness. The sun went away down south. It was gone to the country of the Southern Queen. And then the king cried out - "Greetings from Solomon, Son of David, and servant of the Most High God to Belkis, Queen of Saba..."
She heard his voice and his words.
"You are aware that God has made me lord and king," wrote Solomon, "Over the wild beasts and birds of heaven and over the devils and spirits and ghosts of the night..."
The voice of a man and the words of a king.
"You are aware that God made me great lord over all kings from the lands of the rising to the land of the setting sun..."

That night she couldn't sleep.
Malak Uqabe, the guardian angel, appeared at queen's right side. But Uqabe was separated from her by the darkness of her master the Zar, and she called upon the Angel, "Do not separate thyself from me by night or day!" The head of the angel was small, and he had no sword in his hand. He had no mouth, only eyes and the eyes were of the higher angel; his name was the Angel Fanuel. Fanuel didn't answer her, only looking at her with his big dark eyes. "Greetings to thee!" prayed Sheba, "Let the evil spirits be cut down and dispersed!"

"Rise, therefore, not up against me but come and surrender yourself unto me..." Solomon saw the Zar for the first time and the Spirit who ruled the land of his queen was dark and big. The demon-blacksmiths appeared behind their demon-king. They were struck with fear upon seeing Solomon, and asked him what he had in his belly. Solomon answered that he was full of the grace of God, and that this grace protected him against all evil spells. Then Solomon spoke some Words of Power. The King of the demon-blacksmiths was angered and ordered his servants to kill Solomon. "Lofham, lofham," said Solomon. And the executioner's mouth was locked up, the Zar had no eyes. The waters and fires came down on them. Some of his followers were drowned, others were reduced to ashes. The king alone survived. Solomon seized him by the throat, struck him, and commanded him to give up his secrets. The Zar revealed to the king his evil spells for appearing in many forms -- with the face of an ass, a horse, a dog, a lion...
"But if you disobey my command and try to resist me, I shall send against you my armies of ghosts, and devils which will slay you in your bed at night; and my armies of birds and wild beasts will tear your flesh and chew your bones... My armies of birds and wild beasts will tear your flesh and chew your bones..."

[Continues on Part I]

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