Celebrating Ethiopia’s Ceremonies and Rituals in Home Decor

Celebrating Ethiopia’s Ceremonies and Rituals in Home Decor

Celebrating Ethiopia’s Ceremonies and Rituals in Home Decor

Ethiopian rituals & Ceremonies

I may be bit biased but.. I think Ethiopia is a land of amazing cultural traditions primarily because it has such a long history stretching back thousands of years. As a customer of Addis VIV you know that we focus on sacred living over here…. so it would make sense if you were curious about the most important ceremonies and rituals in Ethiopia. Well lucky for you my fellow home décor enthusiasts, I’m about to give you the lowdown 🙂 

First up is Timkat. One of my absolute favorite religious festivals filled with ritual and ceremony. Timkat lands on January 19th and it’s a day to celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ. You’ll witness some of the most colorful processions, music, dancing, and feasting that you can imagine. If you’re a fan of parades and festivals, this one is definitely worth a visit. It features priests and worshippers carrying replicas of the Ark of the Covenant, which is so magical to witness in person. Even if you are not a religious person.. you will definitely enjoy the excitement and mystical vibes…

Next on the list is Meskel, a holiday marked on September 27th that celebrates the finding of the True Cross by the Empress Helena in the fourth century. Think bonfires, processions, and joyous vibes…. If you’re feeling like you need a little spark in your life, this is the holiday for you! It’s like a sacred party if you will. Lot’s of singing and dancing. Bonus points if you like to dance around a fire while the world burns (don’t worry, it’s a controlled fire).

Then there is Enkutatash, also known as the Ethiopian New Year, which falls on September 11th. I know I know… we have a completely different calendar than most… I’ll do a blog on our calendar and the fact that it is 2015 in Ethiopia soon…  But back to Enkutatash…It’s a time for new beginnings, renewal, and feasting. This one is a no-brainer for those of us who love starting fresh and embracing new opportunities. Plus, you’ll get to try my favorite dish, doro wat, a spicy chicken stew, and injera, a delicious flatbread that’s eaten with almost every meal in Ethiopia.

Lastly, we have Fasika, or Ethiopian Easter, which is usually celebrated in April. It’s a time of great religious significance and is marked by a 55-day fast, (happening as we speak!) which is broken on Easter Sunday with a feast of traditional Ethiopian dishes. So…Light some candles and get ready to be amazed by the symbolism of resurrection and new beginnings.

Now, you might be wondering how you can incorporate these traditions into your home decor. Well, my friends, think vibrant colors, symbolism of renewal, and lighting elements. You can create beautiful displays that reflect the themes of each holiday. I’m picturing gorgeous candles (insert your favorite Addis VIV candle), colorful vases, and unique sculptures inspired by Timkat. Or perhaps some using our Ethiopian handmade textiles filled with rich colors and traces of gold , as a tapestry or formal table cloth for a special dinner…that will definetly evoke the spirit of Fasika.

Ethiopia’s ceremonies and rituals are such a big part of who I am and the inspiration behind creating a line that is dedicated to sacred, slow, intentional living.  As children we were indoctrinated into the world of rituals but for us it was more like fun festivals we looked forward to where you connect with other children, are fed by strangers and dance in our version of a mosh pit with others. As adults the sacred value of these historic ceremonies and traditions become crystalized in our hearts and souls forever. This is why incorporating the essence of these ceremonies into our products is so important to me.  Because I envision a larger world of people slowing down and enjoying one another through ceremony, celebration and peaceful union.  So, next time you’re looking for some home décor inspiration or choosing which Addis VIV candle is right for you,  think about these traditions and which one you identify with more…incorporate them into your sacred living space,  become intoxicated by scent and dance! 

Aromas of Love: Exploring the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Aromas of Love: Exploring the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Aromas of Love: Exploring the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Buna Ceremonies in Ethiopia

Coffee has been a symbol of love, hospitality, and togetherness in Ethiopia for centuries. In fact, the country is considered the birthplace of coffee, and the Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a beautiful tradition that celebrates this precious beverage.

Imagine yourself on a trip to Ethiopia either staying at one of the many beau You hear the sounds of the rooster crowing and the cows mooing in the distance. The sun is rising, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air. You walk towards a small hut made of mud and straw. As you approach, you hear the sound of a woman singing and laughing. This is the Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

The ceremony is usually conducted by a woman, known as the Bunna Tetu, who is highly respected in the community for her knowledge of coffee. She sits on a small stool, surrounded by her family and friends. In front of her, there is a small charcoal stove, and on top of the stove, there is a clay pot called a jebena.

The Bunna Tetu adds fresh coffee beans to the jebena and roasts them over the charcoal stove. The beans are roasted until they turn dark brown and release a rich aroma. As the beans roast, she fans the smoke towards the guests to allow them to fully experience the aroma of the coffee.

Once the beans are roasted, the Bunna Tetu grinds them into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle. She then adds the ground coffee to the jebena, along with water. The jebena is placed back on the charcoal stove to boil.

As the coffee boils, the Bunna Tetu pours a small amount of coffee into tiny cups called cini. This first round of coffee is called awel, and it is considered the strongest and richest coffee of the ceremony. The guests sip the awel, savoring the intense flavors of the coffee.

After the awel, the Bunna Tetu pours two more rounds of coffee, known as tona and baraka. The tona is the second round, and it is slightly weaker than the awel. The baraka is the third and final round, and it is the weakest of the three.

The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is not just about the coffee; it is also about the experience of coming together as a community. It is a time for sharing stories, laughter, and love. The ceremony can last for hours, and guests are encouraged to stay as long as they like.

The ceremony is often accompanied by traditional Ethiopian music and dance. The guests clap their hands and stomp their feet to the rhythm of the music, creating a lively and joyful atmosphere.

As the sun sets and the ceremony comes to an end, the Bunna Tetu pours the remaining coffee onto the ground as a symbol of respect for the earth. The guests say their goodbyes, feeling nourished and energized by the coffee and the sense of community they experienced.

In Ethiopia, coffee is more than just a beverage; it is a cultural and social tradition that brings people together. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a beautiful representation of this tradition, and it is a must-see for anyone visiting Ethiopia.

The ceremony is a feast for the senses. The aroma of the coffee, the sound of the music, the taste of the rich and complex flavors of the coffee, and the visual beauty of the ceremony itself all combine to create a truly unforgettable experience.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, don’t hesitate. You will be welcomed with open arms, and you will leave feeling a deep sense of connection to the people, the culture, and the coffee that make Ethiopia such a special place.

The Coconut Wax vs Beeswax Debate

The Coconut Wax vs Beeswax Debate

The Coconut Wax vs Beeswax Debate

Why we Choose Coconut Wax Every Time

We believe that the wax used in a candle is just as important as the fragrance and design, and we’re thrilled to tell you all about the benefits of using coconut wax over other waxes like beeswax. So, sit back, relax, and let’s talk wax!

First…Let’s start with the basics – what is coconut wax? Coconut wax is a natural wax made from the meat of coconuts. It’s a renewable resource that’s environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and sustainable. It’s also a great alternative to other candle waxes, such as paraffin wax, which is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource.

Now, you might be thinking, “What about beeswax? Isn’t that a natural wax too?” And you’re absolutely right! Beeswax is another popular option for candle making. But let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using coconut wax versus beeswax.

First of all, coconut wax has a lower melting point than beeswax. This means that it has a longer burn time and can last up to 50% longer than a beeswax candle of the same size.
So, if you’re looking for a candle that will give you more bang for your buck, coconut wax is the way to go.

Secondly, coconut wax has a cleaner burn than beeswax. When beeswax burns, it produces a black residue called soot. This can be a problem for people with allergies or respiratory issues. Coconut wax, on the other hand, produces virtually no soot, making it a healthier choice for your home and the environment.

Another benefit of using coconut wax is its scent throw. Scent throw refers to how well a candle can fill a room with its fragrance. Coconut wax has a great scent throw and can hold a fragrance better than other waxes. This means that your candle will not only last longer, but it will also provide a stronger scent that will fill your home with the luxurious scent you desire.

Lastly, coconut wax is vegan-friendly! Beeswax is a by-product of honey production, which means that it’s not vegan. If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly option, coconut wax is the way to go.

Now, we know what you might be thinking – “But what about the cost? Is coconut wax more expensive than beeswax?” And the answer is yes, coconut wax is typically more expensive than beeswax. However, when you consider the benefits of using coconut wax, we believe it’s worth the investment.

At Addis VIV, we believe in using the highest quality ingredients to create the best products for our customers. We’ve found that coconut wax not only provides a superior product, but it also aligns with our values of sustainability and environmental responsibility. We take pride in knowing that our candles are not only beautiful and luxurious, but they’re also a conscious choice for our customers and the planet.

So there you have it – the benefits of using coconut wax versus beeswax. We hope that this has been helpful in understanding why Addis VIV uses coconut wax for all of our candles. If you haven’t tried a coconut wax candle yet, we highly recommend giving it a try. We’re confident that you’ll love the longer burn time, cleaner burn, and stronger scent throw that coconut wax provides.

4 Ways to Repurpose Your Candles

4 Ways to Repurpose Your Candles

4 Ways to Repurpose Your Candles

So, you’ve burned through all the wax in your Sunrise. What now? Well, don’t toss it in the trash ! Here’s 4 fun and creative ways to repurpose your concrete bowl:

Plant Pot

Repurpose your Tsehai bowl into a stylish planter? You can plant succulents, herbs, or even small flowers in it. First, make sure you clean out any remaining wax and wick residue from the bowl. Then, add some potting soil and your chosen plant. You can even get creative with the arrangement of plants in the bowl, creating a mini-garden that will look great in your home.

Plus, having plants in your living space can be a great way to improve air quality and reduce stress. So, not only are you repurposing your candle bowl, but you’re also improving your overall well-being. It’s a win-win!


In the spirit of sacred living, we are always thinking about new ways to add more peace and intentionality to your home. One way to do this is by repurposing your Tsehai bowl into your very own altar. Add your favorite crystals, a few candles and maybe even a photo of someone that is no longer here that you wish to keep at the forefront of your mind…the options are endless. You decide what you want to display on your altar, after all..it’s your sacred life. 

Fruit Bowl 

Okay, so this one might sound a bit unconventional, but bear with me. Your concrete bowl can actually make a great fruit bowl! Simply give it a thorough cleaning and fill it with your favorite fruits.

The weight of the concrete will keep the bowl from tipping over, even when it’s filled with heavier fruits like apples or oranges. And let’s be honest, anything looks more appetizing when it’s displayed in a beautiful bowl.

Zen Garden 

Whether you practice mediation or just need to decompress at the end of your day,  creating a mini zen garden is definitely the move! Fill your bowl with sand, rocks, and other decorative elements like small statues or candles, and create your own miniature oasis of calm. The rough texture of the concrete bowl will add an earthy and natural feel to your zen garden, while the small size makes it perfect for any desk or tabletop.

Take a few moments each day to tend to your zen garden, raking the sand and arranging the rocks to create a sense of mindfulness and relaxation. Your mini zen garden will not only be a beautiful decorative piece but will also serve as a daily reminder to take a few moments to breathe, relax and find inner peace. Remember, we’re all about slow, sacred living here at Addis VIV. 🙂 

So there you have it, four fun and creative ways to repurpose your Sunrise bowl. Not only are you keeping it out of the landfill, but you’re also adding a unique touch to your home décor. And who knows, maybe you’ll come up with even more creative ways to use it in the future. The possibilities are endless!

Addis Ababa: A Love Story

Addis Ababa: A Love Story

Addis Ababa: A Love Story


1984. My first trip to Ethiopia. My first time meeting relatives that are now my brothers and sisters…My first time meeting my maternal grandmother, who was and will always be my absolute heart. After years of only being able to talk for a few seconds whenever the phone lines in Ethiopia were up, I finally got to speak to my grandmother face-to-face and bond with her in person.

I was so confused and distraught by the environment as I pulled into the shanty-town like gates, yet by the time we drove off I didn’t want to leave because it felt like home and it was more full of life and love than any home in the United States.  But how so? So much was missing…I remember thinking why does my grandmother live here? She needs to come back with me! What about the glorious rich stories I heard of the latter years? The photos I saw of these beautiful homes and everyone dressed impeccably? The streets paved and lined with beautiful cars? I was too young to understand the impact of the 1974 Red Terror on the country and on the spirit of the people…

I was so young and so innocent and had no clue what it meant to live in a 3rd World country… I remember feeling guilty… It lasted for days… How could we have all that we have back home while so many live without? While, from the looks of things even my blood lived without? I think I spent the first two weeks staring out of the window of my uncles car in disbelief… My mother, pregnant with my brother back home in Oakland, CA would check on me every day and I would smile Big enough for her to hear it so that she wouldn’t worry about me. My 9 year old heart was breaking… Not for my family because I quickly saw that they actually lived wonderfully and were happy and had all that they needed. But for the children I made eye contact with every second of the day while zooming through Addis Ababa staring out the window…

These children looked like me, looked like us… I actually remember one day staring at a woman who sat on the side of the road with two children who was clearly famished and homeless… She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my life. I even yelled out in the car… “Look!” I made my father and my uncle look out the window to look at her and I said… “Isn’t she beautiful? I can’t believe how pretty she is!” They smiled and said yes… But I could tell by the silence that they were all too familiar with this beauty mixed with sadness…

I mean had she been in New York City she would be a supermodel with millions of dollars, fame and a big beautiful home for her and her children.  How could this be? How could it be that in one city this woman is homeless but in another city she could be a famous supermodel? What is wrong with our world?

I found out later that my family was a little worried about me because they could see in my eyes that I was lost in thought most of the trip…they saw that I was trying to process without really asking any questions.  To this day I still observe and process the same way: no one knows what I’m actually thinking or experiencing until I’m able to alchemize my feelings and integrate them with my final thoughts. At that point I feel safe to share.

By the end of the trip my entire being was full of light and bliss… I was excited!  I had a level of confidence I did not know I was missing.  I was so proud to be from this country.  The once frightening environment was now a dream land to me. So much freedom. So much joy and laughter, singing and dancing.  People feeding each other left and right. The little things were everything to everyone. What a gift I received on this trip.  I was humbled & uplifted simultaneously.

In the states I went to a private French school where absolutely no one looked like me and certainly no one’s homes mirrored mine. Up until that trip I felt so confused and sadly less-than at times.  But by the time we packed up our suitcases and joined a caravan of cars full of family and music heading to the airport to send my father and I off…I realized my riches.

I will never forget the emotions I experienced that first day and the last. I am so grateful for all of it… I am who I am because of this trip and the trajectory that it set me on.

I remember listening to Nipsey Hussle talk about how his life changed on his first trip to Eritrea with his father and brother…I could see it in his face and I knew exactly what he was talking about and what he was feeling. There’s nothing like smelling and touching the land that your ancestors come from…

I will never forget the emotions I experienced that first day and my last. By the time we had to head back to the States, I knew exactly why my family and others chose to live in Addis Ababa. No longer did I see distressed homes and poverty … rather all I saw was God’s pure joy and gratitude in the faces and homes of everyone there.

This trip was and is the gift that keeps on giving…I am who I am because of it and because of the trajectory that it set me on.

Black History Month begins on the continent. We are all chosen ones that come from a lineage, a history of richness and royalty… my story belongs to all of us.

**The first photo was my last day in Ethiopia. Everyone came to the airport to see us off… We were a cool bunch The last photo was taken in Spring 2022 on my paternal Grandmother’s porch… Surrounded by love and memories I’ll never forget.

The Innocent Story

The Innocent Story

The Innocent Story

Affirmations, prayer and music have long been a part of my morning routine, where I find my peace and grounding at the top of my day. During the pandemic, my morning practice was my saving grace. While some days it just took a few minutes to feel inspired, by mid-week, it began to take hours to find the balance of peace and strength to arise and face the day. But there was an unfortunate layer to this.

Amid an unprecedented pandemic, we found ourselves being faced with recurring themes of black death and injustices across all media platforms, resulting in a communal grief unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Many of us sat in front of our screens in agony and grief for days upon days only to be shot in the face with another image, another sensationalized insensitive account of another INNOCENT black male being killed.

I remember specifically feeling helpless and traumatized by these constant horrific incidents that albeit we as black people are all too familiar with, were happening in a viral-like manner. I began to think of the mothers. The fathers. The children that are scarred for life by the premature deaths of their brothers, fathers, and husbands. And I eventually leaned against my kitchen counter and sobbed. Somewhat unconsciously I walk over to one of my candles sitting on the island, I light it and just stare at the flame. I think of their faces. I think of their mothers. I envision the men that were killed as somebody’s little boy…. I realize in that moment that I’ve been holding my breath, my fists are clenched and tension is the only thing keeping me standing. I exhale and say a silent prayer…

The moment I say amen to my prayer, I begin to become hopeful. Then I think…what if everyone has the same candle in their home, dedicated to protecting young black boys and men…? What if by lighting this candle we all become a link in a light-filled chain that inevitably surrounds them all… creating a circle of love, and a veil of protection…Spiritual Armour? Instantly my Spirits were lifted and I felt less helpless.

At this time, Addis VIV was a seed in mind and in my heart. Non-existent in the physical world. The only evidence of it was my unnamed candle bowl that radiated like the sun and gave me life at a time when so many were losing theirs. I knew at that moment, at the very least, I wanted to create one candle for everyone to share…it had to happen. I guess you could say this shared experience of darkness was the catalyst of me deciding to stand for our collective light…and find a way to bring it to others.

This is how the ‘Innocent’ candle came to fruition. Birthed during the pandemic in response to the senseless, racially motivated crimes against Black and brown men and boys around the world. I knew in my heart of hearts that the answer was right in our face.

We must become Guardians of the Innocent. And so it begins…
We. Are. Innocent.

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