Genna (Amharic: የገና በአል), or the Ethiopian Christmas
For Ethiopian Christians, Christmas is one of the holiest days of the year. It is celebrated on the 7th of January in the Gregorian calendar, and on the 29th day of Tahsas in the Ethiopian calendar.
The Amharic word for Christmas is Genna, which is also the name of a game (like hockey) that boys play on Christmas Day. The word Genna comes from the Greek word meaning “birth.”
The best place to celebrate the Ethiopian Christmas is Lalibela. At Christmas time, the clergy at Lalibela commemorate the miraculous event of Jesus’s birth at a small cliff overlooking the Bête Mariam church. The clergy in Lalibela commemorate this event with hymns of praise, with half of the singers at the top of the Cliff and half the singers at the the bottom. This is meant to represent the prayers sung by shepherds and Angels at the birth of Jesus, with the clergy atop the Cliff representing angels, while those at the bottom representing shepherds.