It is also known as Gena or Christmas which is celebrated on 6-7 January, usually one week later than the west. It is celebrated after 43 days of fasting, known as Tsome Gehad (advent), with a spectacular procession, which begins at 6 am and lasts until 9 am. Just before the celebration there will always be a religious procession and feast.
The faithful attend all night church services, often moving from one church to another. On Christmas day, there will be colorful musical celebrations which involve the priests dressed in their best robes performing rituals, including dancing and playing drums and other instruments. Early in The morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white and head to the nearby church. Most Ethiopians don a traditional Shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends.
The Shamma is worn somewhat like a toga. Urban Ethiopians might put on white Western garb. Then everyone goes to the early mass at four o'clock in the morning. In a celebration that takes place several days later, the priests will dress in turbans and red and white robes as they carry beautifully embroidered fringed umbrellas. After the celebration the mass will go back home for Christmas meal, which include a main course, such as Doro Wet (spicy chicken stew) with Injera (flat round bread- which is used to scoop and eat food). The meal will be accompanied by traditional drinks- Tej and Tella (homemade wine or beer).
Late in the afternoon there will be the traditional game of Gena, a kind of hockey. Legend has it that the game was being played by the shepherds who were tending their flocks on the night that Jesus was born. The game is attended by the leader of the community. A prize is awarded to the winner of the Gena game. Best place to witness this festival: Lalibela and Addis Ababa.
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