Social Role of Coffee
In Ethiopia the practice of drinking coffee is held largely at house hold level. Among most societies in the country, coffee ceremony is one and the loveliest ceremonies carried out at each house hold. When a guest comes to one’s home the best way to host a guest is through this lovely ceremony.
Besides drinking coffee ceremonies are events at which people discuss their social affairs and give solutions to problems.
Around Jimma where coffee is born, when people meet each other or give blessing they say “buna fi nagaa hin dhabinna” let coffee and peace avail it your home.
Although there are variations among different societies and communities in the way coffee ceremonies are carried out and coffee is consumed, there are major points which all societies share. Among all Ethiopian societies coffee has the following cultural and social values.
- It serves as a mode of expression of love and affection o friends, family and neighbors. The colorful coffee ceremony is held to loved friend, relative or neighbor.
- In days of sorrow caused by death of a family member or relative coffee and related ceremony serves as a means to entertain and make the affected forget the sorrow.
- In public gatherings of a very large people, coffee ceremony with accompanying smoke of incense adds color and grace to the ceremonies.
- Pre-arranged peer group meetings (meeting of people with similar interests) are places where people discuss about all aspects of their life. At these ceremonies conflicts in a family or between families, conflicts between people or a group of people get resolved. These peer group coffee ceremonies also help transfer knowledge. Ceremonies of this type are playing an important role in the protection of HIV/AIDS and family planning activities.
Around Jimma the bond between coffee and social life is very strong than any other area in Ethiopia. This reflected in the saying that “bunafi nagaa hin dhabina” which is a blessing that every person say while as he/she enters to the home of another person. This saying of Afan Oromo translates as let peace and coffee avail in your home. From this, we understand that coffee is given important place as peace. This is a clear indication that coffee holds a very important place in the life of the people of Jimma.
Source: Oromia Culture and Tourism Bureau