Discover Tigrinya

Tigrinya (ትግርኛ) is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It is spoken by roughly 7 million people primarily in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Main Communities

Asmara (Eritrea), Mekelle (Ethiopia)

Tigrinya Names and Their Meanings:

  • Abrihet - She brings about the light
  • Timnit - Wish
  • Meron - Gift from God
  • Tekle - my plant
  • Haben - Pride
  • Goitom - Leader

Staple Food

Siwa(ሰዋ) - is a home-brewed traditional beer. It is made from water, a home-baked and toasted flatbread, yeast, and dried leaves. Siwa is a common drink for farmers and is also served at special events.

Culture and Traditions

Guayla - this traditional dance is commonly performed by a group of both sexes in a circle. It involves fast-paced shoulder movements while rotating in a circle. Guayla is often performed during social gatherings and celebrations as a means of cultural expression and community bonding.

Abuna Yemata Guh - One of many rock-hewn churches common in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. To enter this cliff church, visitors have to cross a natural stone bridge, perform a vertical rock climb, and manage a steep ascent. The paintings on the walls and domes of the church have been impressively preserved and feature more old testament figures than they do new testament figures.

Notable figures:

Tiffany Haddish - comedian. She played a leading role in the 2017 Hollywood movie Girls Trip which earned her multiple award nominations. Haddish is also celebrated for her stand up performances and won a primetime Emmy Award for her 2018 performance in Saturday Night Live. She was born to an Eritrian father.

Tewolde Gebremariam - business executive. He served as the CEO of  Ethiopian Airlines Group from 2011 to 2022.  Under his leadership, the airline experienced significant growth and expansion, becoming one of Africa's leading carriers and a symbol of Ethiopian pride. Gebremariam  has won many awards and honors. In July 2013, he became the first African Airline CEO to receive Airline Business Magazine’s  “Airline Strategy Award for Regional Leadership.” 

Meb Keflezighi - athlete. He has competed in multiple marathons and won several races. Meb won the 2009 New York city marathon  and the 2014 Boston Marathon. In 2012, he finished in 4th place, winning the silver medal in the marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics.