Ethiopian I-tal Food

Myrrh – Kerbiè ከርቤ

Myrrh from Ethiopia.
Although it is equated to gold for preciousness by the biblical narrative, and it was given to the newborn Christ, few in Europe know what it is, much less have seen it. The Christian faith should instead suggest its importance to grasp the symbolic meaning of the Nativity mystery, and consequently also a medical and alchemical relevance for man, since it was offered by wise kings, astronomers and “magi”.
It is a substance similar to incense, then a vegetable resin (of a plant called “Commiphora”), that is extracted, then hardens and crystallizes. Myrrh, which is called in Ge’ez Kerbiè ከርቤ, was given to Christ as a symbol of His mortality, since it is traditionally used for the embalming of corpses (even of His own, as attested in John 19:39) and fumigated on the occasion of funeral rites.
Its acrid fragrance, albeit very pleasant, releases a disinfectant power that cleans the air of all impurities, keeps insects away and restores the healthiness of the rooms. It is fumigated on charcoal and embers, but can also be sucked and swallowed, to disinfect the digestive system. Tenifuge.
Ethiopian I-tal Food

Incense – Etàn ዕጣን

Incense, called Ettàn in the Ethiopian language, ዕጣን.
It was given to Christ as a symbol of His priesthood, and is essentially burned by the Church for liturgical sanctification and the inspiration of the faithful. As it was written by the Psalmist (141,2):
“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense”
Just like myrrh, it is a resin that is extracted from the bark of a plant, Boswellia, of which we have many different varieties. Depending on the variety, incense can have different colors and be found in crystalline, stony or woody form.
A particular crystalline variety of Boswellia is used for the liturgy, called “Bietekristiyan” (meaning “Church”). Other varieties are used for home fragrance (like “Ogaden” or “Lubanja”) and during the civil ceremony of coffee (for example, “Aden”).
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