Addis Ababa

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Guide for dating in Addis Ababa helps you to meet the best girls. This dating guide gives you tips how to date Ethiopian women. You will learn rules where and how to flirt with local Ethiopian girls. We advise how to move from casual dating to the relationship and find the real love. We also tell the best dating sites in Addis Ababa. In this article below you will find more information where to meet and date girls in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Hot young girls having a good time at Stockholm Elegance Lounge, Addis Ababa

Girls in Addis Ababa:

  • Looks of girls: 4.5 / 5
  • Attitude of girls: 3.5 / 5
  • Loyalty of girls: 3 / 5
  • Education level of girls: 3 / 5

Dating in Addis Ababa:

  • Chance of arranging dates: 3 / 5
  • Casual dating culture: 2.5 / 5
  • Online dating popularity: 3 / 5

Sex in Addis Ababa:

  • Women's sexual activity: 3 / 5
  • One-night stands: 2 / 5

More about Addis Ababa:

  • Nightlife in general: 4.5 / 5
  • Locals' English level: 2 / 5
  • Moving around the city: 3 / 5
  • Budget per day: US$20 - $1000
  • Accommodation: US$10 - $500


As the commercial and administrative capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa attracts women from all parts of the country. These women come to the city in search of jobs, education and some just visit to have a good time in the capital. While some of these girls come when they are already married and may not be available for dating, many, especially those who come to the city to stay for longer periods are not married. These women are to be found in many places in the city. All you have to do is to know where to find them and you pick up one.

Men in Ethiopia are generally considered to be flirts. This means that the girl you will be dating will be loudly-admired, approached and praised regularly. This may make you jealous, which is understandable. However, you can be sure that once she has accepted you to be her girlfriend, she will not leave you for anyone else.

As you look to date an Ethiopian girl, it will be helpful if you understand the dating culture here to ensure that you do things the right way.

Girls here take their reputation very seriously. She will not take you to meet her parents unless she feels sure that you are the one for her or at least that your relationship will last for a considerably long time.

Dating Culture

Ethiopia is generally a heterogeneous country with different cultures defining people from different regions. However, as a country, Ethiopia is largely a rural country with almost 70% of the population living in the rural areas. As for the urban areas, Addis Ababa alone accounts for more than 50% of people living in towns and cities. The girls are open to dating any type of person and their choice is usually personal. Many single girls walk the streets of Addis Ababa and they don't mind when men approach them and show some interest in them. Once you do this right, you will be ready to have a wonderful adventure.

Online Dating

Dating in Addis Ababa can be a bit tricky due to not knowing if you have a solid connection, so your best bet is to sign up for a dating site before you venture to the night club or bar, so you can meet a few locals ahead of time. lets you meet local members in Addis Ababa and get to know them on a personal basis before you meet in person. Take advantage of site features like live chat and member to member webcams so you can begin flirting before arranging a face-to-face meeting.


Ethiopia’s indigenous population is made up of 83 different ethnic groups. The main groups in the country are the Amhara, the Oromo, the Somali and the Tigray. Although Amharic is the main language spoken in Ethiopia, only about 30% of the population speaks it. In the recent past, many regions have been dropping the official use of Amharic for their local dialects. Oromo is spoken by about 34% of the population. English is taught in school as a mandatory foreign language though it is the language of instruction in universities.

For a long time, Ethiopian women have had restricted access to opportunities for growth both economically and in terms of education as compared to men. Very few women were able to go through the education system due to traditional cultures that confined them to roles at home such as cooking and taking care of families. The tradition of early marriage for girls also denied them an opportunity to progress in careers as they became housewives. It was not rare for girls as young as ten to be married off. However, this has changed over the last two decades as women are competing equitably with men in school, business and also at the workplace.

Just as is the case with any other major city, Addis Ababa attracts women from all corners of Ethiopia who troop in for different reasons. Geographically, Addis Ababa is located almost at the center of the country. Even the area around the city is inhabited by the Amhara, people from all around the country.

Ethiopian girls are considered to be some of the most beautiful in Africa. This is because of the light-skinned that gives the impression of a mixed race.

Before looking at the different types of Ethiopian women, it is important to understand that Ethiopian women can be very attached to their families. By extension, they are protective of their communities and you need to find out about the culture of the girl you want to date so that you know what to do and not to do to offend her. In addition to this, Ethiopian girls are deeply traditional and will be quite hesitant to date someone from other cultures and nationalities.

The first type of girl you will find in Addis Ababa is the new graduate who finished her tertiary education and she has come to the city to look for a job. This lady is in her 20s will be coming from any of the different regions of Ethiopia. For those who are still searching for a job, they are not financially stable to be found in expensive entertainment joints. Since this girl has been most likely brought up in a rural setting, she speaks her local dialect more fluently than English and so conversing with her may be a challenge. However, they understand a bit of English from their education and so you may need to limit your own speech to simple English.

The second category is made up of those girls who after searching for jobs have been lucky to find one. For those from the rural areas, they have begun understanding English and other cultures around them. This is one of the best types of girls to date as they are still enjoying their freedom and also ready to experience a different kind of life. Not all the girls here come to Addis Ababa from the village. For those whose parents could afford, they were taken to international schools in the city. These schools enable them to speak fluent English as well as giving them an exposure to other ways of life. These girls are also ready to date men from all cultures.

Another type of girls in Addis Ababa is the young girl who came to the city for her studies. This girl spends most of her time in school and only comes out on weekends to the various entertainment joints. While some of the girls are traditional and are not open to casual relationships, some are very liberal and are open to dating. If you are visiting the city for a brief period, this is the type of girl you’d want as many of them like to go out to have a good time.

The above list of types is not exhaustive. As referenced before, every young lady is unique in her own particular manner thus you might discover one who may not appear to fit into any of the above gatherings.

Ethiopian Girls (age 18 - 29)

As has been mentioned earlier, Addis Ababa is the capital and the biggest city in Ethiopia. Every year many young girls leave their families in the villages and other towns and come to the city to either join the many tertiary learning institutions in the city while some who have finished their studies elsewhere come to the city to look for jobs. For those who will be coming to further their education, they will be taking accommodation in the colleges and universities or hostels. The ones looking for jobs will most likely stay with relatives before they are stable enough to move out and stay alone. To manage the cost of living, some girls opt to share rooms with their friends.

This number of girls coming in will add to the many girls who have been born and brought up in Addis Ababa. While many of those who have their families in the city will continue to stay with their families, some will seek independence by moving out and only visiting their families over the weekends or during holidays.

Since these girls are just getting into adulthood, many of them are not yet financially independent. Many still depend on their parents for support, though some seek side jobs to supplement their income and better their lives. It is at this stage that girls also look to carve an identity for themselves. Those who do not come from rich families usually try to match up to their richer counterparts. They do so either by looking for additional income streams such as entrepreneurship or getting other jobs.

On average, Addis Ababa girls are generally well-endowed. At this age bracket, the girls' bodies are developing in the right places. The breasts are firm and pointed and the girls dress to accentuate their prominence. Their buttocks also grow round and big and they will be noticeable as most girls dress in tight dresses, skirts and trousers to show off the form of their bodies.

Even though this is the best age to go for if you are looking to having just a good time or even if you are looking for a long term relationship, there are a few things you need to be aware of. First of all, if you want a serious commitment, you may need to consider the older girls (27+). This is because the younger girls tend to be unsure of what they want and so they may juggle between two or more men. Unless you want to be part of this game, the older the better.

Ethiopian Women (age 30 - 45)

These women are getting settled in their careers and those of them who are not yet married are looking for life partners. Most women in Ethiopia get married between the ages of 25-35 years and so the average woman of this age you come across will have marriage in mind. As a result of this, most women make their plans around a family with a husband and later on with children. Addis Ababa girls falling into this category already have some of their friends married and they tend to look at their friends with awe at the same time wishing that they were also at that stage. That, however, is just the majority. There still exist many women aged 30-45 who are single and ready to mingle.

At this stage, most women are trying to establish their career paths. Some of them have the time and money go back to further their studies beyond the undergraduate level. They spend their days at work and for evening and weekend classes in the many university campuses in the city. While not all of them are ready to engage in dating, there are still many who are available to meet and interact. You just need to have a more mature approach when hitting on them as they easily rebuff anyone they deem childish.

By this time, these women have fully developed bodies and are never afraid to flaunt their curves and edges. However, these women will be less adventurous than their younger counterparts in terms of dressing. They tend to don knee-length dresses and skirts and trousers suits. Their hair will be braided conservatively or simply blow-dried. In case of going out for a night of fun, casual clothes will be donned with simple shoes such as sneakers. These women have good jobs and those in business have some level of stability and so have higher spending power. This means that they can buy expensive clothes and accessories and cosmetics.

Since most of the women here are financially independent, some of them move out and start living on their own. Some still cohabit with their friends as this is considered to be a temporary stage before they get married. Those whose families live in Addis Ababa and have conservative parents may continue staying with their parents due to the fact as mentioned above, girls usually have their future lives centred around getting married and settling in with their husbands.

A group of local mature women having a good time at Flirt Lounge, Addis Ababa

Ethiopian Ladies (age 45+)

Apart from the widowed, divorced and separated, most women of such ages are usually married. This is mainly due to the traditional order of priorities that Addis Ababa girls are inculcated with. One is usually supposed to study, get a job, get married and settled down. Any girl who falls off this trajectory is usually considered abnormal and will be on the receiving end of many questions from family and friends about why she is single. Many suggestions will even be put to her to consider.

Every trend has its exceptions and this is no exception. There are many women in Addis Ababa who are above 45 years of age and still single. These women, including the married ones, are good for a one-night stand. This is because, at this stage, most of them are not looking for partners to establish long-lasting relationships with. They are simply looking for a good time with no strings attached.

While young girls fall into the hands of male sponsors, these women at times represent the female version of the sponsors. Some of them will be ready to provide all the material needs of the young men in exchange for sexual satisfaction. Some of these women are wealthy enough to comfortably pay their bills and the bills of young men who meet their sexual desires.

Foreign Girls (tourists, expats, students, etc.)

Ethiopia hosts several multinational organizations and corporations. These organizations bring in many foreigners every year for work and exchange programs. It has already been said that Addis Ababa is one of the biggest cities in Africa. As a result of this prominence, many visitors from the neighboring countries come in every year seeking education, business, and employment opportunities.

In addition to the above, Ethiopia has enjoyed relative peace as compared to its neighbours. Due to political and social upheaval in neighbouring countries, many people fled and came to Ethiopia. Many of these people settle in the country and become permanent residents albeit maintaining some identity from their countries.

The above factors have seen Ethiopia play host to many foreigners. As a tourist seeking foreign girls, Ethiopia offers one of the biggest pools in Africa to choose from as these girls are in plenty. Whether you want foreign students, businesswomen, professionals or fellow tourists, Addis Ababa has them all.


Generally, Ethiopian girls are very traditional and conservative and very few of them will be willing to engage in casual sex. The women are brought up to preserve their virginity until they get married.

This, however, does not mean that Addis Ababa girls are very hard to get and impossible to have sex with. However, it must be noted that nowadays there is less conservativeness among Addis Ababa girls due to an influx of western cultures and a mixture of many other cultures which has led to a loss of the traditional values that characterised Ethiopians before the modern times.

Sex Culture

Casual dating is not very common in Ethiopia. Girls generally meet a partner with the expectation of marriage in mind. Marriage remains one of the most important events in one’s lifetime, representing the merging of two families when the woman moves into her husband’s home. It also signifies a couple’s maturity and full transition to social adulthood.

All this changed with the coming of modernity driven in a big way by penetration of media. What was a dreaded discussion came to the living room through television programs and later on music videos. This has greatly led to a shift in perception of sex and sex has become an increasingly casual affair with no attachment or commitment. The younger generations regard sex as a recreation activity that can be done anywhere with anyone. This has been compounded with the advancement in technology especially the internet which is now accessible on mobile phones.

One-Night Stands

As it has been mentioned earlier, getting Addis Ababa girls for a one-night stand is relatively harder than other countries. This is partly because of the language barrier which makes it hard to express your desire to a girl. Additionally, many girls here are held back by traditions. Girls in Addis Ababa are quite conservative due to their upbringing and you may need to go to the right place to get a girl who is ready for a one night stand.

One of the best places to pick a girl who is ready for a one-night stand is in the numerous night clubs within and just outside the city center. Starting on Thursday all through to Sunday, these clubs are usually packed with girls, most of them 19-25 years old who are out to enjoy a good time. At times all it takes to get to go home with a girl from a club are you buying her and her friends a few drinks of their choice and you will be on your way to a good time.

Some clubs in Addis Ababa especially those in the dingy areas of the city are popular with girls who are there to look for men. However, as a tourist, it is advisable to keep away from some of the clubs in dimly lit alleys in dingy areas of the city as the girls there normally collude with thieves who will pounce on you and rob you of your belongings. It is a common occurrence to come across a tourist who visited a club hoping to get a girl for a one-night stand and end up having his drink laced with sleeping pills. While he may be lucky to have enjoyed the sex, as soon as he falls asleep, his money, phone and whatever else of value will be stolen. Some ending up even without clothes.

It is therefore advisable that you get a local who is trustworthy and knowledgeable to show you around.

Best Places to Meet Single Girls

While Addis Ababa is one of the biggest cities in Africa both in terms of population and infrastructure, getting around can be quite challenging due to the language barrier. Amharic is the main language for day-to-day communication in the city. As you walk around, it may be advisable to get a local who understands the language as even road signs in the city are written in Amharic.

There are a number of places that you can visit in the city to meet and pick up single women in the city. During the day, you should visit the shopping malls, cafes and other spots where locals like to hangout. Since most people here are conservative, you will have to approach women very carefully with out stepping on anyone's toes.

During the night, the best option for you is to go to one of the many nightclubs in the city. Women at these nightclubs will not be conservative and won't mind you approaching them. The chances of picking up women in nightclubs are also pretty good.

Bars, Pubs and Nightclubs

With its large population and a large presence of expatriates in the city, Addis Ababa serves up some of the best entertainment in the region which incorporates both the contemporary western experience with traditional elements.

Topia Tej Bet – Although it is considered to be the top choice bar in the city, it is situated in an alley behind Axum Hotel off Haile Gebressalasie Road. The name means top honey wine in Amharic. The club is one of the most popular nightspots in the city. Some of the delicacies on offer are raw goat meat and beef. The signpost to the hotel is in Amharic though the menu is in English.

Fendika Azmari Bet– The club specializes in Ethiopian jazz music that is played both by a DJ but also by a visiting live band. You can be assured of having a good time even though you may never understand any part.

Memo Club – This joint is situated on Bole Road/Africa Avenue. The club’s interior features cozy seats, a huge dance floor complete with red lights. The club is infamous as it teems with expatriates who frequent the club looking for prostitutes. The club offers a mix of African and Western tunes.

Club H2O – The pulsating nightclub is located on the ground floor of the Yoly Hotel along Mickey Leland Street. The club is famous because of its daily happy hour that runs from 7 pm to10 pm in which slow jazz music is played by live bands. This gives way to faster African and Western music mixes. Every Friday is an African night.

Black Rose Lounge – Located along Africa Avenue, Black Rose is known for its cool feel and the refined clientele that visit the place. Its music choice ranges from Ethiopian to Indian to Western.

Beer Garden – This is situated only 2 km from the international airport. The club has a German feel combining German friendliness and Ethiopian warmth. Predictably, the menu features German food and drinks. The club is ideal for the whole family outing as it has a children’s play park at the front.

Club Platinum and Lounge – If you are young or you just want to hang out with the young; this is the place for you. Platinum is popular with the younger generation due to its mix of hip-hop, African, reggae and other new age music. It is also preferred by this age group due to its relatively cheaper prices.

Club Illusion – This club is located on the basement floor of Ambassador Cinema along Ras Desta Damtew Street. However, its location and easy access make it one of the most raucous clubs in the city. If you must visit this club, you may need to be accompanied by a local as it is full of pickpockets and muggers.

Stockholm Elegance Lounge – This place also has a refined clientele who prefer its laidback atmosphere to the more noise clubs. The joint is found on Cameroon Street and serves a fusion of R&B, hip-hop, reggae, African and even Indian music.

Flirt Lounge – It is located across the road from Beer Garden. It is located in a relatively plush neighborhood which makes it popular with the upper and middle class. It plays all genres of music.

Other popular clubs that you may pop into when you are in Addis Ababa include Gaslight Night Club, Jolly Bar & Grill, Yougovia Club & Lounge, Elegance Lounge & Restaurant, Beakal Nightclub and Concorde Club. In all these clubs, one drink that you are sure to find is tej. This is honey wine served in special spherical containers.

Depending on the place you choose to go, nightlife in the capital can be anything ranging from relaxed and laidback to raucous. Addis Ababa is a generally safe city. However, as you go out at night into the clubs, you need to take care of your personal belongings as pickpockets are common in crowded places.

Party at Flirt Lounge, Addis Ababa

Shopping Malls

Addis Ababa has seen a wide variety of shopping malls. The malls are found in all sides of the city used to initially be a popular destination for the middle and upper classes. This has changed and malls attract a clientele from all walks of life as they have the benefit of having almost everything under one roof. Some of the popular malls in Addis Ababa include:

  • Zefmesh Mall
  • Dembel City Center
  • Edna Mall
  • Mafi City Mall
  • Shoa Shopping Center
  • Morning Star Mall
  • DH- Geda Tower
  • Lafto Mall
  • Friendship City Center
  • Century Mall
Dembel City Center, Addis Ababa


For a country that has its origins as early as the Biblical times, it is without a doubt that Ethiopia will provide you with a lot of interesting places to visit within and near Addis Ababa. It would be helpful to you if you got a multilingual tour guide to help you move around as most people struggle with other languages other than their own.

Ethiopia’s most famous export is coffee and it would only be proper for you to sample some of this coffee at the country of origin. Tomocca is the oldest coffee house in Ethiopia where coffee is brewed and blended by Italian machines. The coffee house serves samples of coffee from every part of Ethiopia. While there, enjoy coffee from Kaffa which was the first place that coffee was introduced in Ethiopia.

The Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum is dedicated to the memories of the dark period in Ethiopia’s history from 1974-1991. In it, you will find captioned photos of the people who were killed in that period, how the dissidents secretly communicated. Entry to the museum is free but visitors are free to donate at the end of their visit.

Mercato Addis Central Market is not only the biggest market in the city but in the whole continent. If you would spend a day in a place where you are sure to listen to all the tribes in the country, this is the place to visit. Just as you would do in any market, be sure to bargain as you purchase items as unscrupulous sellers are bound to take advantage of foreigners to hike their prices.

The National Museum of Ethiopia is home to the fossil remains of Lucy, the oldest prehistoric man ever found. The fossil is believed to be about 3.5 million years old. In addition to Lucy, you will be able to learn much about Ethiopia’s history in the museum.

If you are a mountain climbing enthusiast, Mount Entoto is the place for you. At the summit of the mountain, you can enjoy great panoramic views of the city. Also, atop the mountain are two of the oldest Ethiopian Orthodox churches - St Mary of Entoto and St Raguel. As part of the city, Mt. Entoto makes Addis Ababa the highest capital city in Africa.

Yekatit 12 Monument is a historical monument that is another great place to visit. The name translates to February 12 and it commemorates the Ethiopians killed by the Italians who briefly occupied Ethiopia in the 1930s.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was built to commemorate the liberation of Ethiopia from Italian rule. It is the second most important religious place in the country and is the burial place of former leaders such as Emperor Haile Selassie and PM Meles Zenawi

The Holy Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa

Universities and Colleges

Addis Ababa is home to more than 20 universities and even more colleges. As home to almost half of Ethiopia’s urban population, many institutions of higher learning have been set up in Addis Ababa to cater for the ever-increasing population. Many girls leave their families all over the country and come to the capital with the hope of advancing their education and careers. Some of the universities and colleges found in the city include:

  • Addis Ababa University
  • Addis Ababa University College of Commerce
  • Addis Continental Institute of Public Health
  • PESC Information Systems College
  • Kotebe College of Teachers’ Education
  • Selam Nursing College
  • Mekane Yesus Seminary
  • Jethro Leadership Management Institute
  • Grace College of Business and Computer Science
  • Dynamic International University
  • Ayer Tena Health Science and Business College
  • Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development
A view of the Addis Ababa University


Having mentioned the different places where you spend your time in the city and meet beautiful young ladies, it is pertinent to mention that you should make your move the correct way. It can't be emphasised on enough that Addis Ababa is a blend of societies and mindsets, so when you approach a lady, you are best encouraged to be cautious as to not offend anyone in that process. Be that as it may, Addis Ababa is loaded with acceptable young ladies who are really searching for an interesting person to get into a relationship with.

Girls here will be more interested in having a serious committed relationship, but that does not mean you won't find a suitable partner who is also looking for a casual relationship or even a one-night stand perhaps. Make the most of your time by approaching as many women as possible and you are sure to find someone who will really strike your fancy.

Holiday Romance

If you don’t share their nationality or religion, you may find it hard for an Ethiopian girl to take you seriously.

In order for your stay in Ethiopia to be enjoyable as you spend time with your girl, you may want to have a prior understanding of the country, it's people, nice places to visit, the different costs to be incurred and even the local delicacies. This will save you from getting into activities without the knowledge and also from spending on things you had not planned for.

As a tourist coming into the country for the first time or even if you have been to Ethiopia before and you are looking for an Addis Ababa girl to spend your holiday with, you should take time to find out about the kind of girl you would want to spend the holiday with and how far you would want to go with the relationship. This is important as one wrong move may ruin your holiday and even land you in trouble with the authorities.

Once you find someone and have an understanding with them, the holiday romance will begin. You can visit different places such as nice restaurants, movie theatres and such to have a wonderful romantic time with your partner. You can also go clubbing together, get drunk and have a steamy session in bed.

Tips for Successful Relationship

Ethiopian women are generally hard-working. They will not like you at all if they see you as a lazy person without any goals or achievements. They need someone who adds more motivation and determination to their already busy lives. If you want to keep them interested in what you have to offer, talk to them about your plans, your career and what you do for a living.

Ethiopian women speak many different languages. Although Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia and you will earn some points if you can throw some sentences in it, Italian and French are also among the languages preferred by Ethiopian women. Teach them a couple of words or slangs in your native tongue, and you will have their interest and a couple of giggles in the process.

As mentioned before, Ethiopian ladies take their reputation very seriously, which is why they won’t introduce you to their family and friends unless they are sure you are the one or at least feel like the relationship will last a considerable amount of time. Ethiopian women are among those who think that family and friends help you build happy relationships. They may agree to go on several dates with you and still, you would probably not know anyone close to them. The advice here is to keep things on the low until they tell you or show you otherwise.


You should not be in a hurry to rush into a relationship or even push her into a relationship, rather, take time to get to know the lady you’re interested in because she certainly will need time before even hinting that she might be interested in you.

Remember that, when she is interested, she’ll be looking for a full-time relationship with you, not just a casual fling. And you can be sure that your woman won’t sleep around, she won’t drink too much and she more than likely won’t smoke. Remember and try to understand the cultural differences, preferably before going out on your first date. Patience is an important virtue, especially one when meeting someone from another culture. Be open, be aware, be considerate and be happy; and, when you find your special dream girl, she will love you and stay with you and bring you all the pleasures you could ask for from a partner.

How to Make Sure She Is the One

It is frequently said that there is somebody for everybody. Regardless of whether this is genuine is begging to be proven wrong. What isn't begging to be proven wrong is that as a general rule, you will meet numerous young ladies before settling down with one. Everyone will appear to be the one until you go separate ways and you end up searching for another person. So how would you realize she is the one?

As it has been pointed out previously, getting somebody who will accept and love you for who you are is the most ideal approach to know that she is a decent decision. As people, we as a whole remain imperfect and finding someone who is to accept your imperfections while helping you to improve is something to be thankful for and can be a major indicator that your partner might be the one.

Thirdly, a young lady who celebrates with you when things are up and cries with you when things are dreary is someone for you to consider seriously.


Just as is the case with many African countries, the legally accepted marriage age in Ethiopia is 18 years. This has to be accompanied by written consent from both spouses. However, this is not the case at times as girls as young as 10 years old have been seen to get married.

In traditional Ethiopian societies, the groom’s parents search for the bride for their son. After identifying a suitable girl, they would seek to find out if there is any blood relationship between them. Once it is ascertained that there is no relationship, they send a mediator to establish contact with the girl’s parents and start the process of planning for the wedding. When the girl's parents agree, the groom's parents come in and officially start negotiations. A wedding date is set. The most peculiar aspect of traditional weddings is that the bride and groom first see each other on the wedding day.

Another deviation from what is common practice in many African societies, it is the bride's family that normally pays the dowry to the groom's side.

For those girls living in Addis Ababa and other urban areas, the process remains with the only difference being the way the two meet. Regardless of where they meet, the families have to agree with their son or daughter's choice. While the modal age of marriage for girls in Ethiopia is about 30 years, women in the city tend to marry later than their rural counterparts as a part of their young adult life is spent on their formal education.

In Ethiopia, virginity is highly valued and a girl who loses her virginity before marriage is considered to have brought shame to her whole family. In Ethiopian law, there are three forms of marriages recognized:

Civil marriage – This is conducted before a civil officer. This is the simplest form of. marriage as the man and woman seeking to get married to appear before the officer who is empowered to accept the consent of parties wishing to enter into marriage. In the event of a foreigner marrying an Ethiopian, the civil marriage is concluded before the officer of the civil status of the place where one of the future spouses or one of the ascendants or close relatives of one of them has established a residence by continuously living there for not less than six months before the conclusion of the marriage.

Religious marriage – This takes place before a religious leader who has been licensed and commissioned by the government to conduct the wedding. The requirement of having been a resident for 6 months applies here too before one is allowed to marry.

Cultural Marriage - Ethiopia is home to more than 80 different ethnic groups each with its customs. These customs apply to every area of their lives including marriage. One important thing that needs to be noted here is that for a marriage to be concluded according to custom, the custom referred to is of three: the custom of the community in which they live, or the custom of the community to which both future spouses belong or to which one of them belongs.


As has been mentioned, in the traditional set up once an agreement has been agreed upon the two sets of parents agree on a wedding date. The responsibility of preparing food for the ceremony is usually shared by both groom’s and the bride’s parents. The wedding takes place at the bride’s home starting with the bride’s parents paying the dowry to the groom's side. This is usually in the form of cattle and money.

The ceremony will have dance and celebration as well as eating. At the end of the wedding, the couple goes to the groom's parents' house where the groom has to consummate the marriage in the first 3 days. After a honeymoon period that can last up to three months, the couple returns to the bride’s parents’ house and stay there for a while.

About two-thirds of the Ethiopian population is Christian and most of the remaining is Muslims.

In religious weddings, the wedding service takes place as prescribed in the respective religion. The couple and other attendees then move to the wedding reception venue. Upon arrival, the couple is normally received by their grandparents. The couple kisses the knees of the grandparents who then bless them. The ceremony continues and another strange aspect during the reception is that a member of the bridal team will open and read messages of all those who did not make it to the wedding.

In Muslim traditions, the man is allowed to take up to 4 wives.

Family Life

Family is the most important unit of society in Ethiopia. Whereas the nuclear family is the most common type of family, the larger extended family is always in constant communication and is involved in the daily lives of each other. Ethiopian children are usually brought up and trained to keep close contact with family and they support each other at all times.

The Ethiopian family is patriarchal whereby the bride moves in to live with her husband’s family upon marriage. The family is also highly patriarchal to mean that the father is the head of the family and in his absence, the eldest adult male son assumes leadership and decision-making. The average number of children in an urban family is 4 while those in the rural areas have many more children.

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