Thursday, January 6, 2011

Merry Christmas - Ethiopian Style

January 7th is Christmas Day in Ethiopia. (They still follow the ancient Julian calendar, so Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7).  Here are some interesting facts that I found about a traditional Ethiopian Christmas. We are trying to learn as much as we can about E's culture.

• The Ethiopian Christmas known as Ganna

• The day before Ganna, people fast all day.

• The next morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white. Most Ethiopians wear a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends.

• People receive candles as they enter the church. After lighting the candles everyone walks around the church three times, then stands throughout the mass, which may last up to three hours.

• Food served at Christmas usually includes injera, a sourdough pancake like bread. Injera serves as both plate and fork. Doro wat, a spicy chicken stew might be the main meal. A piece of the injera is used to scoop up the wat.

• Twelve days after Ganna, on January 19, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration called Timkat, which commemorates the baptism of Christ.

• Ganna 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.

መልካም ገና - Melkam Gena
(Merry Christmas in Amharic)

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