January 2020: Ethiopia / Lalibela: Genna

Christmas celebrations (Genna) in Lalibela

The Ethiopian Christmas celebrations, here called Genna, are a very special spectacle. As already mentioned, Lalibela is one of the most important pilgrimage places of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity.

According to the government, this year about 200,000 pilgrims from all over the country entered into this not really big city in the Ethiopian highlands. There are 5 pilgrims to each inhabitant. It is just incredible to see how many people populate this small place. Everywhere you see pilgrims in their traditional white robes. A part comes in crowded buses or on loading bridges of lorries. The large part, which cannot afford such means of transport, comes however on foot. They have most often been on difficult laborious marches for weeks before they arrive in New-Jerusalem – as Lalibela is also called. They stay here for two to three days and celebrate Genna. The pre-Christmas evening and the Christmas morning they spend in the churches, where hours of worship are held.

Thereupon they celebrate with their family and friends, drink Tella, an Ethiopian beer specialty, sing and dance.

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