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Children tell us how they celebrate Christmas in Ethiopia

POSTED December 19, 2018

Children tell us how they celebrate Christmas in Ethiopia

Learning about Genna, celebrated January 7

By Semereta Sewasew, communications manager, Ethiopia

Ethiopia Christmas

We caught up with children where we work in Ethiopia to learn how they experience Christmas, a holiday they call Genna and celebrate Jan. 7.

“On Christmas day, my mother and I wake up very early to go to church. We dress in our traditional clothes,” begins Samrawit (above), 7. “The evening before my mother also makes a wonderful Doro wot (chicken stew). She also bakes bread and makes coffee. [Then] all the children in our neighbourhood go outside, and we play games like hide-and-seek. I really enjoy Christmas.”

Senait, 14, has similar memories. “For Christmas, I make coffee for my grandfather. We also make bread and chicken stew (Doro wot),” she says, noting that she wears her traditional clothes.

Fun facts

  • Christians across Ethiopia celebrate Genna (known as Lidet or “birthday”) by attending a church service that lasts throughout the night, with parishioners moving from one church to another.
  • During celebrations, Ethiopians don a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly coloured stripes across the ends.
  • In the rural northern region of Ethiopia, men and boys play Genna, a game that’s similar to hockey, except it’s played with a round wooden ball and only at Christmas.

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