Ethiopian Christmas

Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in Africa, it still follows the Julian calendar, so Ethiopia celebrate Christmas on January 7th.

The Ethiopia orthodox  Church’s celebrate of Christ’s birth is called Ganna. It is a day when families attend church. The day before Ganna, people fast all day. The next morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white. Most Ethiopia don traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly coloured stripes across the ends. The shamma is worn somewhat like a toga.

The foods enjoyed during the Christmas season include Wat,  a thick, spicy stew of  meat, vegetables and sometimes egg as well. The Wat is served from a beautifully decorated watertight basket onto a ‘plate’ of injera, which is flat sourdough bread. Pieces of injera are used as an edible spoon to scoop up the Wat.

Twelve days after Ganna,  January 19th. Ethiopia begin the three-day celebration called timkat, which commemorates the baptism of Christ. The children walk to church services in a procession. They wear the crowns and robes of the church youth groups they belong to. The grown-ups wear the shamma. The priests will wear their red and white robes and carry embroidered fringed umbrellas.

Tamma and timkat are not occasions for giving gifts in Ethiopia. If a child receives any gift at all, it is usually a small gift of clothing. Religious observances, feasting, and games are the focus of the season.


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I wish all those in Ethiopia a very merry xmas




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