Maregu, the young man who is studying to become a tourist guide, just happened to be in the right place at the right time when I visited Addis Ababa and agreed to take me on a full day tour of various sites outside the city. He was most helpful, agreeable and delightful the entire time, arranging transportation and sharing his knowledge of the country, culture and the people.
Hopefully he will not mind me sharing his explanation of the Christmas Holiday in Ethiopia.
“I wish for you a happy merry Christmas and a prosperous new year of 2016 and best of all in life.
Christmas is one of the most celebrated of holy days . For Ethiopia, which has its own our calendar ,the holy day occur after a week than many western countries celebrate the birth of Christ .The spirit of Gena brings elation to Ethiopian Christian ,and people in the cities begin exchange gifts and decorating Christmas trees one day prior to the exact day. Residents in rural areas, however celebrate differently and preparation for holy day begin even earlier. Especially in my place Lalibela,it is highly religious festival that it will be celebrated by more different from here.
Here ,women buy a new dress ,or launder their favorite traditional one. Young men go in to the forest and find stick which they carve and set aside for traditional game played on Christmas Morning ,called Yegena chewata .
At day break, the players gather on a designated filed with their sticks and wooden ball, they group themselves into two teams, and the game begins with each member hitting the ball as hard as possible toward the opposing end .
Villagers choose side, cheering and singing an old song, Begena Chewata Ayekotam geta,meaning every one is allowed to play and even the lord lets his servants take part on Gena! this game is believed to have started centuries’ ago with the introduction of Christianity to Ethiopia ”
Maregu Biru can be reached at email@example.com and would be happy to take you on tour if you are ever headed his way!