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Lidet (Gena, Christmas)

ethiopia_gennaLidet (Gena, Christmas) the Ethiopian Christmas is not the primary religious and secular festival that it has become in Western countries. Falling on the 7th of January, it is celebrated seriously by a Church service that goes on throughout the night, with people moving from one Church to another. Traditionally, young man play a game similar to hockey called Gena on this day, and now Christmas has also come to be known by this name.
One indication of the influence of the Church in everyday life is the fact that the thirteen major Saints-Days in each month are named by their Saint, while others are referred to by date. Each Church is dedicated to one Saint, and on that Saints-Day once or twice a year the Tabot is paraded in front of the congregation by taking it around the Church three times.
Ethiopians who are joining these festivals contribute to their Church by giving several religious items, the amount to be spent on these contributions depends of course on the income of the individual. The most popular items to be contributed are candles and umbrellas in al kind of size and decorations. the church collects these items and sells them back to the merchants to gain money to help the pour.