All these finger-licking good traditional vegetarian dishes shown on display are considered lent meals ፆም ምግቦች and the traditional alcohol drinks Tej - ጠጅ (Ethiopian style honey mead) and tella - ጠላ (Ehiopian style black beer) perfectly complement the vegetarian dishes. Tej and tella are not only divine on your palate, but helps with digestion.
You may wonder what the eating and fasting rules are for Lent and how things have evolved. The rules of fasting varied and the guidelines have evolved and changed that some people abstained from all forms of meat and animal products, while others made exceptions for food like fish.
If memory serves … Ethiopian Orthodox families observed lents (tsom) throughout the course of the year. The 60 days lent (abiy tsom) before Easter, 16 days during the rainy season spell right before the Ethiopian New Year (around September 11), 45 days before Christmas and more. During these designated vegetarian days - lent (tsom) everyone maintained a strictly vegan diet with the tradition continuing for followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox.
In order to relieve the monotony of the vegan diet, many exotic traditional vegetarian dishes were served. Each matron would try and outdo the other with the diversity of her spread.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that these vegetarian dishes feed not only the body, but also the soul. No wonder our forefathers were blessed with longer lives, healthy heart and glowing skin.