Christmas Around The World – Ethiopia
Our previous visit saw us stop off in Estonia to see how this European country celebrated Christmas.
We now head across to the continent of Africa to see how Ethiopians celebrate Christmas.
Ethiopia have 13 months in their year – these are:
- Meskerem – the first month, which runs from 11th September to 10th October
- Tikimt – the second month, running from 11th October – 09th November
- Hidar – the third month, running from 10th November – December 09th
- Tahsas – the fourth month, running from December 10th to January 08th
- Tir – the fifth month, running from January 9th until February 7th
- Yekatit – the sixth month, which runs from the 8th of February until 9th of March
- Megabit – the seventh month, running from March 10th – April 8th
- Meyazya – the eighth month, which starts on the 9th of April until May 8th
- Ginbot – the ninth month, running from 9th May until 7th June
- Sene – the tenth month, starting 8th June through to 7th July
- Hamle – the eleventh month, starts July 8th until August 6th
- Nehase – the twelfth month, from August 7th to September 5th
- Puagme – the thirteenth month, which only runs from 06th September to 10th September
25th November (Advent) through to the 07th January
Ethiopian Orthodox Church
In Evangelical churches and their parishioners homes, Christmas trees are becoming increasingly popular.
However, the main Orthodox church has no such decorations
The special advent fast is called the ‘Fast Of The Prophets‘
The Christmas celebration in the Orthodox church is called Ganna (or Genna) and people will dress in white for this celebration, often wearing a Netela (or Shamma) which is a thin white piece of cloth with bright stripes across the ends that is worn like a toga or shawl.
In big cities, people are more likely to just wear ‘western’ clothes.
People go to church mass at 6pm on Christmas Eve and this lasts until 3am on Christmas Day.
Modern churches have three circles, the choir stands on the outer circle, the people in the second circle (males and females separated), and the priest in the centre circle (which is the holiest circle).
During the Ganna celebrations people are given candles which they hold as they walk around the church three times in a solemn procession, before going to their place in the second circle.
A popular game around the time of Ganna is a game also called Ganna, which is played with a stick and a round wooden ball (similar to hockey) by men and boys.
People don’t really exchange gifts, although children might get some clothes from family.
On 19th January, the celebration of Timkat begins, which celebrates the baptism of Jesus.
Many people fast during advent where they’ll eat only one vegan meal a day.
Traditional Christmas foods, once the fast is over, include ‘Wat‘, a thick and spicy stew containing meat, vegetables and sometimes eggs, served on a plate of flat bread called ‘Injera‘, which is used to scoop up the wat.
Our next stop off in our Christmas around the world series, sees us visiting the Falkland Islands to see how they celebrate Christmas.