In Ethiopia, Christmas is called “Ledet” or “Genna” which
comes from the word Gennana meaning imminent about the coming of the Lord as
well as the freeing of mankind from sin. It falls on December 29 Ethiopian time
(Julian calendar), which is January 7 on the Gregorian calendar (the one used
by most countries in the world). During this day, people dress up in their
finest to celebrate.
Genna is celebrated after 43 days of fasting known as Tsome
Gehad (advent), which is practiced to cleanse the body and soul in preparation
for the day of the birth of Christ. This pensive fasting period is required of
the clergy and is known as the fast of the prophets.
Often celebrated quietly with groups of friends and family,
gift giving usually involves small gifts exchanged amongst each other. The joy
of giving and sharing extends beyond religious beliefs. Spreading the spirit of
peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind throughout the world.
Two weeks after Genna, Timket is celebrated. It marks
Christ’s baptism by St. John in the Jordan River and is considered the most
colorful event of the year. Timket falls on January 11 on the Ethiopian
calendar (January 19 on the Gregorian calendar).
The festivities begin on the Eve of Timket with colorful
processions and ceremonies ending on the 12th January (20th January Gregorian
calendar). A myriad of traditional dishes are prepared, the customary beverages
Tella and Tej are brewed and a special bread is baked called “Ambasha”. Sheep
are also slaughtered to mark this grand three-day celebration.
September 11 is both New Year’s Day and the feast of St John
the Baptist. The day is called Kiddus Yohanes or Enkutatash which means the
“gift of jewels.” When the famous Queen of Sheba returned from her journey to
visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her back by replenishing
her treasury with enku or jewels. As this day coincides with the end of the
season of heavy rains and the beginning of spring, the spring festival has been
celebrated since these early times — dancing and singing can be heard at every
village in the countryside and people joyfully celebrate not just the
wildflowers that fill the highlands or the religious celebration composed of
three days of prayers, psalms, hymns, and massive colorful processions, but
also renewed life. To witness the largest and most astounding Enkuntatash
celebration, most people go to Raguel Church, which sits atop Entoto Mountain.
Fasika, Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Easter, is celebrated
after 55 days severe lent fasting during which Orthodox Tewahedo Christians do
not eat meat and dairy products for the whole 55 days. During these days, the
only food they can eat is vegetarian meals like ground split peas, lentils,
grains, fruits, bread, and injera. On the eve of Easter, people go to church,
bringing candles to light up for the very colorful Easter service. Addis Ababa,
Axum, Lalibela, and Gondar are the sites of the 4 biggest pilgrimages for
Orthodox Easter where celebrations are large and visitors can get the most
authentic understanding of the holiday. In fact, a majority of the 800,000
annual international visitors of Ethiopia come for Fasika.
A two-day feast celebrated starting in September 26th,
marking the finding of the True Cross in the early fourth century. During this
time, yellow daisy-like flowers (called meskel) bloom all over the hills
surrounding Addis Ababa. People head to Meskel Squaare to celebrate, and
bishops and civic leaders led the festivities. After mass is the breaking of
the feast which is celebrated by eating injera which is a flatbread considered
to be Ethiopia’s national dish.
Attended by tens of thousands of people from different parts
of the world, Hidar Tison is a celebration in commemoration of Mary, associated
with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant in Axum, the “sanctified city of
the Ethiopians.” During this day, priests chant church music and beating drums
can be heard, drawing tons of people to gather and celebrate the festival.
Here’s our offered tour for you to experience these amazing
Muslim celebrations -Eid al-Fitr
Muslim celebrations -Eid al-Fitr
the majority of Ethiopians is (Ethiopian Orthodox) Christian there are over 25 million
Muslims in the country, 34% of the population. The Islamic holidays Maulid (the
birth of the prophet Mohammed), Eid ul Fitr (the end of the Ramadan) and Eid al
Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) are public holidays in Ethiopia. Huge crowds are
celebrating in Addis Ababa. A good place to experience the celebrations is in
the 4th holy town of Islam, Harar.
al-Fitr, (Arabic: “Festival of Breaking Fast”) first of two canonical festivals
of Islam. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of
fasting, and is celebrated worldwide during the first three days of Shawwal,
the 10th month of the Islamic calendar (though the Muslim use of a lunar
calendar means that it may fall in any season of the year).