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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ethiopian Christmas

Today marks the day for the Ethiopian Christmas, as they follow a completely different calendar then we do, they don't have their holidays on the same day. Please keep reading to hear how they celebrate this day.

Ethiopian Christmas is a major holiday in Ethiopia and falls on January 7, instead of December 25. Unlike the rest of the world Genna is devoid of Santa Claus and Christmas trees. But more recently the trend has been changing where Christmas trees have slowly started creeping into Ethiopian households where many people started using decorating trees even if there is still no Santa Claus stories told, giving and receiving gifts is also not a big deal among the people rather new clothes are bought for children as a present on the holiday.

Genna is followed by one month long fast. It is said that Legend has it that among the Magi the king bearing frankincense as gift to baby Jesus was King Balthazar of Ethiopia. The day before Genna, people fast all day. The next morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white. Most Ethiopians do a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly coloured stripes across the ends. After the mass in church families get together to take part in the holiday feast which include doro wot, tela (homemade traditional beer) and Defo Dabo (bread made for holidays). As done in many holidays’ people visit relatives and spend the holiday feasting together.

Christmas is a holiday where many people come together especially in recent times Ethiopian Diaspora come for the holiday in an attempt to not only enjoy Genna, but also celebrate Timket (Epiphany), considered one of the biggest holidays of the year which is just two weeks away from Genna.

In rural areas people play yegena chewata; Ethiopia’s version of hockey which is played using carved stick and kind of rounded ball where men and young boys participate in the game – at times the rivalry can be fierce. There are also songs which are sung to show how people appreciate the game ‘begenna chewata aykotum geta’ at times the rivalry can be fierce. According to tradition, shepherds celebrated when they heard of Jesus birth by playing such a game.

Written by Tibebeselassie Tigabu for the Sub-Saharan Informer

I took the information from this site.


Rana said...

Happy Ethiopian Christmas!!

Anonymous said...

Hope you had a good E Christmas!
Just heard from Hello Sunshine and Canada Post has lost your parcel! So she is mailing a new one today. If you receive your gift twice you can just mark the second one "return to sender"
Hope it gets to you this time!
Secret Pal

Alicia & Grant said...

Melkam Gena!