Ethnic Groups of Eritrea
(Tigrinya, Tigre, Saho and Afar)
The country of Eritrea consists of nine ethnic cultural groups. They are: Afar, Tigrinya, Kunama, Tigre, Saho, Bilen, Nara, Beja, and Rashaida. Of those nine ethnic groups the four that make up most of the population around Eritrea are Tigrinya, Tigre, Saho and Afar. Tigrinya makes up 50% of the Eritrean population occupying the central and northern highlands of the country. The official language of the Tingrinya is Biher-Tigrinya. Most are sedentary farmers who follow the Christina religion with a small minority of Muslims. Tigre represents about 31% of the Eritrean population. The Tigre inhabits the North Eastern lowlands. Like the Tigrinya, the Tigre are also farmers and include Muslims but most interesting is that they believe in evil’s sprits called Zar who have the ability to possessed people causing them harm and even death. They also do not believe in traditional medical treatment but instead rely on Shamans for treatment. Shamans represent Tigre priests who control events and communicate with spirits. The Saho represent 5% of Eritrean population near Massawa. The Saho are very community oriented, farming together and tending to other peoples cattle where they get their food and money. They are known to be excellent beekeepers making honey and important part of their diet. They are predominately Muslim. They were once reputable warriors and often enlisted to escort trade caravans to the port of Massawa. The Afar people who also represent 5% of the Eritrean population are commonly known as the Danakil, believed to be descendants of Noah. They are found in East African Countries that stretch from the Gulf of Zula into Djibouti. Also farmers, the Afar diet consists of milk and meat. Their camps are surrounded by thorn barricades to offer protection against attacks from wild animals and enemies at large resulting in divided territories into kingdoms ruled by individual sultans who remain...
Cited: Nine Ethnic Groups of Eritrea by Eritre24: Culture: (March2, 2012)
Stable URL: http://www.eritrea24.com/articles.php?aid=4
Source: Eritrea and Ethiopia: The Federal Experience, 1997
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