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Ethiopia’s Festivals – Ethiopian Christmas (Leddet/Genna) (7th January)

Genna (also called Liddet) is the Ethiopian equivalent of Christmas, celebrated on the 7th of January every year. The actual Genna celebration is preceded by a night-long Vigil following 40 days of fasting where meat, egg, and dairy products are forbidden.

During Christmas Eve, there is a church service that runs through the night until 9 am. The end of the mass service then heralds the beginning of the Genna celebration and the conclusion of the fasting period of Advent locally known as Tsome Gehad.

Doro Wote, a spicy chicken stew, is typically the first post-fasting meal.

Genna is mainly a family-oriented holiday and people in the countryside still maintain the tradition of playing Yegenna Chewata, a hockey-like game, following the prior evening’s service. Yegenna Chewata, according to tradition, is believed to have been played by the shepherds on the night Jesus was born. If you are traveling during this time, Axum and Lalibela are among the best places to be.

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March 4, 2015


christian, holiday, Outdoor