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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I was talking with the Director of our adoption agency this morning and she told me we are #2 on the wait list for a little girl!!

As I was talking to her she told me that Ethiopia celebrates Christmas on Jan 7th - which is awesome because that is our son's birthday.  (Coincidence? I think not!) Their calendar year runs differently than ours as well as their Christmas traditions. 

    Christmas in Ethiopia
    The Ethiopian Christmas known as Ganna is celebrated on January 7th. The day before Ganna, people fast all day. The next morning at dawn (around 4am), everyone dresses in white and attends 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. This celebration takes place in ancient churches carved from solid volcanic rock and also in modern churches that are designed in three concentric circles. Men and boys sit separately from girls and women. Also the choir sings from the outside circle.   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 wat, a thick, spicy stew of meat, vegetables, and sometimes eggs. 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.   Gift giving is a very small part of Christmas celebration. Children usually receive very simple presents such as clothing.  Religious observances, feasting, and games are the focus of the season.  After the service is over the rest of the day is spent dancing, playing sport and feasting. Around the time of Ganna, the men and boys play a game that is also called ganna. It is somewhat like hockey, played with a curved stick and a round wooden ball.   Twelve days after Ganna, on January 19, Ethiopians 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 now wear their red and white robes and carry embroidered fringed umbrellas. The music of Ethiopian instruments makes the Timkat procession a very festive event. The sistrum is a percussion instrument with tinkling metal disks. A long, T-shaped prayer stick called a makamiya taps out the walking beat and also serves as a support for the priest during the long church service that follows. Sources:

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome Monica!!!! I love reading about how they celebrate Christmas!!!