Ethiopian Gena (Christmas)
Year after year Christians recall the story of the Christ child in a manger, shepherds on Judean hills witnessing the celestial song of angels as they pronounced the Long Expected One had come.
Celebrated on January 7th and preceded by a fast of 40 days, on the eve of Christmas people gather in churches for mass that lasts about 3 hours. The clergy and “Debtera” (scholars versed in liturgy and music of the church) lift their voices in hymns and chant just as it has been for over a thousand years when Ethiopia accepted Christianity.
After mass, the fast is broken so the clergy and crowd alike disperse to their homes to feast. Food and drink is plentiful, with many homes preparing special meals that are characteristic to all big festivities highlighted on the Ethiopian calendar.