Orthodox Christians Mark Christmas in Ethiopia

Jan 11, 2016 Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia recently celebrated Christmas day according to their own ancient calendar.

Ethiopia’s Christmas comes 13 days after December 25, the date recognized around the world. Although the traditions are fairly similar, Ethiopians try to inject their culture into the celebrations as much as possible.

Ahead of the festivities, shoppers were busy looking for the best bargains at shops and markets around town.

Mekbib Kebede, who runs a stall at the local crafts market said:

“Because of our unique calendar and culture, Christmas is really exciting. I think we should maintain that culture. I enjoy when Christmas comes round,”

The Christmas celebrations are usually characterized with families coming together to break their fast and exchange gifts.

Rahel Mekonnen, a resident of Addis Ababa said:

“Christmas is really exciting. As a woman your duty during Christmas is decorating your house and taking care of house chores. Then comes the fun part of enjoying the day by sharing what you have with your neighbours and relatives by inviting them over for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And that is really enjoyable,”

During the celebration, worshipers also gathered at the country’s Orthodox Church for a solemn Christmas mass.

About 60 percent of Ethiopia’s 84 million people are Christians, a majority of which belong to the Orthodox Church.

During the mass, members of the church were encouraged to remember the poor and the marginalized in society.

Speaking during the service, Haile Abraha, High Priest at the St. George Church in Addis Ababa said:

“God loves when we share. On this blessed day, we should share what we have with the poor and feed them because we will be able to respond when Jesus asks us the question ‘Did you feed me when I was hungry?’ Therefore we need to feast with the poor and the needy. Otherwise I congratulate you for staying strong by fasting and praying for two months and now receiving the Holy Communion,”

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