Saturday, May 25, 2024
HomeEthiopian NewsOrthodox Christmas celebrated across Ethiopia

Orthodox Christmas celebrated across Ethiopia

Ethiopia has its own calendar but celebrates Christmas with the rest of Orthodox Christian world on January 7

Orthodox Christmas _ Ethiopia
Priests chant “Beza Kulu Alem Yom tewolde” (The savior of the World is born today) on the roof top of the rock hewn Church. Photo : AMMA

January 7, 2021 

Ethiopians on Thursday celebrated Christmas across the country with cultural and religious festivity. As is always the case, the holiday is more colourful in Lalibela — a town with the twelfth century rock hewn churches  — and that is dubbed as the Jerusalem of Ethiopia.  It attracts millions of pilgrims every year. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, over one million pilgrims have attended the celebration in Lalibela, according to citizens reports on social media. 

Christmas is also celebrated outside of Ethiopia among the followers of Orthodox Christians around the world. Ethiopia is believed to have over 50 million Orthodox Christians.  However, the followers of protestant denominations and Catholic Church in Ethiopia celebrate it on the same day along with Orthodox Christians. 

Apart from the religious aspect of which it — which is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in Betelhem — the holiday has a profound cultural significance for Ethiopians. There is a field-hockey like play that is played during the day. It is called Yegena Chewata in Amharic, a language with its own ancient script and spoken across Ethiopia. The holiday itself is called Gena in Amharic.

President Sahlework Zewde conveyed a message of best wishes for Ethiopians in the country and abroad. “For all followers of Christianity, I wish you a happy Christmas Holiday. As we celebrate it, let us think about our compatriots who are hurt and also practice prevention measures against COVID-19,” she said in her Twitter message on Thursday. 

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his deputy Demeke Mekonen have also conveyed Christmas messages. 


Join our Telegram Channel :

Like borkena on Facebook

Join the conversation. Follow us on twitter @zborkena to get the latest Ethiopian News updates regularly.  Subscribe to YouTube channel To share information or for submission, send e-mail to 



  1. Orthodox priests happily celebrate Gena without condemining the violence and killings of Christians regardless of their ethinicity ???? surprisingly we have mahibre kidusan, bahitawiyan bishops and prophets from protestant church

  2. I am very disheartened and at times very angry at the way our world does not tell us that the Ethiopian
    bible is the oldest and most accurate Bible in our world. I came from a very strict German family where what my parents believed was the truth. I went to parochial school and studied out of the King James Bible. I was elated to find the real truth about the Ethiopian Bible. I purchased Holy Bible Ethiopic Version containing all the books of the Bible from the Old Testament by Saderingrad Productions 2007 on Amazon. Have you ever read this bible? Its naturally in English Volume One. Have you ever heard of this Bible? do you know the name of an Ethiopic New Testament Bible in English?



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here