Melkam Genna! Merry Christmas!

Yesterday, Ethiopians celebrated Christmas. The Ethiopian name for Christmas is Ledet or Genna which comes from the word Gennana, meaning “imminent” to express the coming of the Lord and the freeing of mankind from sin.

According to the ancient Julian calendar which is used in Ethiopia, Christmas day falls on January 7 on the popular Gregorian calendar most of us are familiar with.

Genna activities include;

The day before Genna, Ethiopians fast all day.

• The next morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white.

• A three-hour church service is attended by many.

• Everyone returns to their homes to break the fast, where they feast on doro wat, injera and honey wine.

• Late in the afternoon, a traditional hockey-like game called, Yágenna Chewata is played among the youth, with the elders as referees. It is claimed that when the shepherds heard about the birth of Christ, they were so ecstatic, that they started playing the game with their sticks and staffs.

• Another game that is played during Genna is, Yeferas suk, where men on horseback throe lances at each other.


Genna: An Ethiopian Christmas in January!

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