Ethiopian Christmas

At the end of 43 days of fasting, all followers of Christianity find themselves looking forward to Genna, the Ethiopian Christmas. As one of the most important national holidays of the year, it is celebrated on the 7th of January. Another festival, Timkat (Epiphany) is also celebrated in the month of January that gives another opportunity to enjoy both events in one trip. Genna is a religious holiday that bears a lot of similarities to Christmas celebrations around the world, however it comes with its own unique set of traditions, which makes the Ethiopian Christmas a highly anticipated holiday.

The Nativity fast in Ethiopia

Practiced by both the Orthodox and Catholic churches, the nativity fast is a period that lasts around 40 days. With the aim of limiting oneโ€™s self from the pleasure of food and other passions, the followers of the Orthodox church adhere to a specific diet. In fact, a strictly vegan diet is adopted throughout the entire fast. On weekdays, the followers must not eat until lunchtime or the early afternoon. On weekends, however, followers are allowed to have breakfast as long as they keep following a strictly vegan diet. A delicious variety of vegan dishes are prepared around injera, a fermented flat bread made of teff flour. They are mostly based on powdered chickpeas (shiro), lentils (missir) and various vegetables.

The Eve of Ethiopian Christmas

Christmas Eve in Ethiopia is known as the gahad of Christmas. Throughout this special day, all members of the family spend the day preparing for the Christmas day. At the end of a long, tiring day of cooking and cleaning, the followers head to church for the mass of the Christmas Eve. They dress themselves in netela or gabi, which are traditional white garments with woven colored borders. After several hours of religious chants and prayers, they head back home around 3AM in the morning, where they can finally break their fast. The Nativity fast is finally broken with a series of non-vegan delicacies. Doro wet is one of them, it is a spicy chicken stew with boiled eggs. It is usually served with a side of cottage cheese known as ayib.

Christmas Day in Ethiopia

Unlike western traditions of Christmas, gift giving is not commonly practiced during that day. Instead, it is celebrated by the enjoying a number of traditional dishes and spending the day with loved ones.
Genna Chewata: the field hockey of the Highlands. A unique tradition of Christmas in Ethiopia is a sort of a traditional game of field hockey. It was originally played by the shepherds in the Highlands. It was played in teams with a wooden stick with a curved tip and a small ball.

The Ethiopian Christmas is another religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ that is greatly appreciated by the followers of all Christianity. It comes after a long fasting period known as the Nativity fast. With its own unique traditions and even a traditional field hockey game, Genna is surely a great time to visit Ethiopia!

Ethiopian Christmas wishes and messages in Amharic

  • แˆ˜แˆแŠซแˆ แ‹จแŒˆแŠ“ แ‰ แ‹“แˆ!
  • ๐ŸŽ„โ˜† แˆ˜เฟšแˆเฟšแŠซเฟšแˆ โญ แ‹จเฟšแŒˆเฟšแŠ“ โญ แ‰ เฟšแ‹“เฟšแˆ โ˜†๐ŸŽ„
  • แŠฅแŠ•แŠณแŠ• แˆˆแŒŒแ‰ณแ‰ฝแŠ• แˆˆแˆ˜แ‹ตแˆƒแŠ’แ‰ณแ‰ฝแŠ• แˆˆแŠฅแ‹จแˆฑแˆต แŠญแˆญแˆตแ‰ถแˆต แ‹จแˆแ‹ฐแ‰ต แ‰ แ‹“แˆ แ‰ แˆฐแˆ‹แˆ แŠ แ‹ฐแˆจแˆณแ‰ฝแˆแข
  • แˆˆแˆ˜แˆ‹แ‹‰ แ‹จแŠญแˆญแˆตแ‰ตแŠ“ แŠฅแˆแŠแ‰ต แ‰ฐแŠจแ‰ณแ‹ฎแ‰ฝ แ‰ แˆ™แˆ‰ แŠฅแŠ•แŠณแŠ• แˆˆแŒˆแŠ“ แ‰ แ‹“แˆ แ‰ แˆฐแˆ‹แˆ แŠ แ‹ฐแˆจแˆณแ‰ฝแˆแข
  • แ‰ แ‹ฐแˆตแ‰ณ แ‹จแ‰ฐแˆžแˆ‹ แ‹จแŒˆแŠ“ แ‰ แ‹“แˆ แŠฅแŠ•แ‹ฒแˆ†แŠ•แˆแˆ…/แˆฝ/แ‹Ž แŠฅแˆ˜แŠ›แˆˆแ‹แข แˆ˜แˆแŠซแˆ แŒˆแŠ“!
  • แ‰ แŒแŠ“ แŒจแ‹‹แ‰ณ แŠ แ‹ญแ‰†แŒกแˆ แŒŒแ‰ณ! แˆ˜แˆแŠซแˆ แ‹จแŒˆแŠ“ แ‰ แ‹“แˆ!
  • โฃโ€‚โ€‚โ€‚โ€‚๐ŸŒŸ
    แˆ˜แˆแŠซแˆ แ‹จแŒˆแŠ“ แ‰ แ‹“แˆ

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