In Ethiopia, the time is determined by counting the hours since dawn. In contrast to the Gregorian Calendar used in other parts of the world, Ethiopia uses the Coptic Calendar. The Coptic calendar has 13 months as opposed to the Gregorian calendar's 365 days per year and 366 leap years.
Twelve of the thirteen months have 30 days each, while the thirteenth, also known as the intercalary month, has five days on average and six leap years.
Christmas is observed in Ethiopia (particularly by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church) on January 7 rather than December 25. This is because Christmas falls on the 29th of Tahsas according to the Ethiopian calendar, which has different months.
7 Ethiopia Family Christmas Ideas
Christmas is also observed on January 7 by many other orthodox churches worldwide. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church now has its special days added to the Coptic Orthodox Church's (located in Egypt) calendar, which it originally borrowed.
In the 43 days before Christmas, many people participate in a special Advent fast. The "Fast of the Prophets" begins on November 25 and lasts 40 days (Tsome Nebiyat).
During this time, typically, only one vegan meal per day is consumed. It is a vegan meal because alcohol, dairy products, meat, and eggs are not destroyed during the fast.
Here are some fantastic Christmas Ideas to try out in Ethiopia
Spend quality time with family and friends.
Spend Christmas with your family and tell them how much you value them. Christmas is a time for family. If you know someone going through a difficult time or alone, invite them to join your family for the festivities.
Nobody should spend Christmas alone.
The Christmas Eve Mass or Service
This is yet another odd aspect of Ethiopian Christmas. You will notice that people visit the churches closest to their homes so that Mass can start as early as 4 am. The church's actual locations make for an intriguing narrative.
If the church is an older style, it will be located outside Addis Abeba, the capital. The solid, volcanic rocks that make up the ancient temples are used for construction.
The architectural design is more expressive for contemporary churches in the capital city. Three concentric circles support these churches. The choir members perform and minister in the outer circle.
As people enter the churches and receive candles, the Mass begins. You'll notice that worshippers walk around the outermost circle three times while holding candles.
Since there are no seats in the church, worshipers move on to the second circle and remain standing throughout the service. The most sacred area of the church is thought to be the center circle. The priest then takes over as the service's leader and celebrates Holy Communion.
Plan on spending at least three to four hours inside the church for the Yuletide day mass.
Gifts are exchanged
You will be disappointed if you expect to give or receive a gift during the Yuletide celebrations in Ethiopia. During this time, Ethiopians do not provide or accept donations.
On the other hand, citizens engage in other activities such as praying, fasting, feasting, and playing games. So much for the typical Ethiopian Christmas celebration.
While there are no Christmas trees or gift-giving, an Ethiopian Christmas has quirks that come with the charm and unfathomable spirituality of the Ganna celebrations.
Yuletide Activities and Games
Men and boys engage in a game, Ganna, with the overarching goal of bringing the family together. In addition, family and friends come together to support various teams at this game.
A wooden stick and a wooden ball are used in the game of gana. Fun and hockey share a lot of similarities. However, Yeferas suk is a different Christmas game that's very well-liked in Ethiopia.
It's only for men and involves people riding horses and shooting harmless spears at each other.
Foods for Christmas
Suppose you are fortunate enough to be invited to a Christmas feast in an Ethiopian home. In that case, you can anticipate seeing typical, everyday foods. Injerra will be a significant component of the holiday feast.
A flat, spongy bread called injerra is the foundation for almost all of the country's meals. Do you fear that you won't receive the traditional Christmas chicken?
You won't have to worry because you'll enjoy the rich flavor of "Doro wat," which is chicken from Ethiopia served with delicious red pepper paste.
You have a wide variety of drinks to choose from. But first, you can select "Tej."
Read also: 7 Most Popular Ethiopian Food
Tej is a type of honey wine that is popular all over the nation. Tej is created by fermenting honey with "gesho," a shrub similar to hops. The outcome is a sweet, smoky beverage to accompany your Ethiopian Christmas meal.
Additionally, there are numerous Ethiopian wines from the country's Rift Valley. These wines are modeled after well-established varieties from Europe, such as Cuvee Prestige Chardonnay and the Cuvee Prestige Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blend.
The vines are grown in Ziway, 150 kilometers southeast of Addis Abeba. Or you could continue drinking Ethiopian coffee, one of the most widely consumed varieties worldwide. Coffee made in the traditional clay pot, or "jebena," is referred to as "jebena buna."
It's a potent expresso-style coffee served in a tiny glass cup. It's usually consumed without milk, although sugar could be added. However, if you enjoy milk in your coffee while visiting Ethiopia, you'll enjoy the "macchiato." Both coffee shops and shopping centers sell this beverage.
Prepare for the celebration of Timkat once Ganna's final moments have passed. This holiday, which takes place twelve days after Ganna, is focused on Jesus Christ's baptism.
Timkat is a three-day celebration that starts on January 19. Children moving in processions to church services while dressed in robes and crowns are expected during this time.
Such processions are accompanied by rich music played on instruments like the sistrum and T-shaped prayer sticks with drums.
We bring out our favourite, albeit overplayed, Boney M and Kenny G Christmas carol every Christmas. It evokes the spirit of Christmas. You'll be reminded what the holiday is if you listen to the lyrics.
The brave can gather their family to sing Christmas carols or stroll through the neighbourhood, spreading Christmas cheer to others.
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