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The traditional celebration of Christmas in Ethiopia

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Men activities during Christmas celebration in Ethiopia

Christmas celebration is based on country, culture, and tradition. Ethiopia is one of the few countries where Christmas is celebrated by the traditions of the first Christians. Orthodox Christians celebrate the feast of the Nativity of Christ.

Every year thousands of tourists come to see how Orthodox residents conduct holiday ceremonies in churches carved out of volcanic rock and in modern temples.

Many Ethiopians are Christians and in the Ethiopian calendar, the most important dates are, of course, the New Year, celebrated on September 11, Christmas on January 7, baptism on January 19, while the Feast of the Cross or Meskel takes place on September 27.

On the New Year holidays, Christmas is usually offered in northern Ethiopia, in Lalibela, a small town with a population of 30,000 people, where pilgrims and tourists from all over the world colorfully flocked.

A very beautiful service in the church begins on the evening of January 6 and ends at dawn on January 7. If one considers himself a believer, you can join the local people, who dress in white clothes, walk around the church three times, with candles in their hands, and then go to the priests for Holy Communion and blessing.

Female activities during Christmas celebration in Ethiopia


For Christmas, a traditional game resembling field hockey is held in Aksum, while a special coffee ceremony is held. Songs throughout the whole day and residents dance on the streets from dawn to dusk.

The people of Ethiopia have a special reverence for the temple. People begin to be baptized a few hundred meters before the temple, some crawling on their knees. “Ganna,” Ethiopian Christmas, begins with the fact that everyone who comes into the church is given out candles.

With a lit candle, a person bypasses the church three times and only then stands the liturgy. On the eve of the holiday, it begins in the evening and often lasts all night. Women and men in the temple pray separately. The women are usually on the right side and men on the left.

In the morning all the believers form a bright and elegant procession that goes to a nearby hill. The Divine Liturgy is served there, and then everyone eats one piece of the doro-wot from the hands of another believer.

Ethiopians bake injera, a huge cake made from yeast dough. It serves both as a plate and a napkin to take a piece of chicken. Also in many homes during Christmas, chicken in peanuts is served as a snack or hot dish. But Dors-Uot, a piece of stewed chicken with spices is served at a brotherly meal.

Christmas celebration in Ethiopia, indeed, puts one into the early Christian antiquity, revealing the Jewish tradition connection which is very strong in Ethiopia.

Related article you may be interested in: Was Jesus Christ Truly born on Christmas Day – December 25?

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