Genna (Ethiopian Christmas) at Lalibela, (January 7)

Among the major feasts which are associated with Jesus and observed by the Ethiopian Orthodox church, the incarnation of nativity, Genna or Ethiopian Christmas is one of the highly celebrated feasts. The annual celebration of Genna on Tahisas 29 (January 7) commemorates the birthday of Christ.

In the town of Lalibela, the colorful celebration of Genna coincides with the birthday of King Lalibela, who took the credit for the construction of 11 rock-hewn churches approximately 880 years ago. While celebrating Genna at Lalibela, the clergy venerate the miraculous events which occurred when Jesus was born in Bethlehem at the cliff of Beta Mariam Church (one of the eleven rock-hewn churches in the enclosure). They do so by performing the hymn, half being at the top of the cliff and the remaining half at the bottom.

Even if Ethiopian Christmas is on January 7, there will be different ceremonies to be held in the rock-hewn churches starting the night of 4th January.

Traditionally young men play a game that is similar to hockey, called Genna. Nowadays Christmas in Ethiopia is also known by that name.