Your interest in reading this profile may come from your involvement in an organized HOST program. You may have met newcomers from Eritrea at your workplace or place of worship or be learning about Eritreans at school. Whatever your source of interest, this cultural profile will help you learn more about Eritrea and welcome Eritrean newcomers to Canada.

Most Eritreans leave their country for political reasons; many come as refugees, and others have come here to study or work. As you would if you moved to a new country, Eritrean immigrants will have numerous questions about their new home. They will want to learn about their neighbourhood or how to register their child at school. They will probably need information on transportation, health care and grocery shopping. Answering these questions will help make your friends' transition into Canadian society smoother. You'll also find that you have a lot to learn from your new friends.

Although this cultural profile provides insight into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from Eritrea.

  Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name State of Eritrea
Capital Asmara
Type of Government Transitional democracy
Population 4 million
Area 121,320 sq. km
Major Ethnic Groups Tigrinya, Tigre, Saho, Afar, Hedareb/Beja, Nara, Kunama/Bezien, Blin, Zubed/Rashaida (Note: official group names may vary)
Languages Tigrinya, Tigre, Arabic, other indigenous languages
Religions Christianity, Islam, traditional beliefs
Unit of Currency Nakfa
National Flag Three triangles arranged in a pattern: red on the hoist side, green above and blue below. A gold laurel wreath and an olive branch appear on the red triangle.
Date of Independence May 24, 2021

  Did you know?
The name Eritrea comes from the Greek word erythrea, meaning red. The word is referred to in a famous shipping manual called Periplus of the Erythrean Sea. The name Erythrean or Red Sea refers to the way that the water's turquoise colour changes to scarlet when algae form at certain times.