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ብሩክ ልደት – Merry Christmas

Posted by addisethiopia on January 6, 2016

GENNA2008

We don’t have Santa Claus here. We never saw him in the streets carrying big sacks and presenting Christmas gifts for our kids. We never saw the snow falling down on our roofs or on the ground. It doesn’t matter though. We have our own Christmas; a Christmas on which we share big smiles that you wouldn’t see the rest of the year afterward. Let’s just flip through few pages of the Good Book and see how we came to own our own Christmas.

የገና ጨዋታ == YegenaChewata (the game on Gena)

Carry the clubs and set out to the field for waiting you is the ancient game Gena! Here we have a very interesting story on how we came to have the game.

On the days of Herod, according to the books we were able to consult during the preparation of this writing, the Wise men who travelled in search of Jesus the Son were not just three. There were twelve tribes each with 100, 000 people. But, on their way they had to fight with ‘armenewoch’ destroying 9 of the tribes. Only three of them were able to survive the battle and keep their journey. Mantusimar, Bedidasphar and Melku were the names of the three leaders of the tribes. (in Western Christian tradition) their names are listed as Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior; they were the three leaders of the tribes. The Bible knows them as the (3)Three Wise Men.

Now, as they cross his land Herod met the wise men. He asked them what they were in search of. Innocent in heart, they told him that they were looking for the king that had been prophesied to be born on those days. Herod asked of them again that they would tell him where the child was born on their way back home. They agreed. On the journey to Bethlehem Herod sent a spy named Roor. He was supposed to go with the wise men to Bethlehem and bring the news of Jesus’ whereabouts to Herod so that he could go there and kill the child for prophesy said that he was the king of Israel.

A star in the sky served the wise men as a guide. But after they met Herod the star was difficult to be seen. This happening vexed the wise men that they cast a lot amongst the leaders of the tribes. It fell on the tribe lead by Melku where the secret agent Roor was brought in to.

The stranger was found to be the cause for the disappearance of the guiding star. They cut off his head and played with it hitting and passing it amongst them.

Now, the angel of God appeared in the wise men’s dream and told them to change their route when they went back. They listened to the Angle of the Lord and went back to their land without telling anything about the Child’s whereabouts to Herod. He was so wrathful that he sent soldiers to the land of Bethlehem and slaughtered all the children under two years old.

As a memory for this happening a game called Yegena Chewata has been played by Ethiopians since Christianity was introduced. The game is played with a stick much like a golf club and a little wooden ball named after the spy – Roor.

YegenaChewata in the olden times of the nation grants a special democracy. It was the rare occasion where a slave and his owner play with equal status. As the saying goes,

በ ገና ጨዋታ

አይቆጡም ጌታ

Be GenaChewata

AyekotumGeta

The literal meaning of which is that on the game of Gena the servant’s owner no matter what happened would not get angry at anyone.

Source

Ethiopian Christ Icon Found 500 Years On

EthiopianJesusIcon

An 15th century Ethiopian icon of the infant Christ child sitting on his mother’s knee was discovered after it was cleaned by a British charity.

The central panel of the triptych had over the centuries become blackened with the sprinkling of perfume that the monks use as they worship.

The hugely important and stunning painted wood panel is now visible in its original coloured glory, showing a pale-faced Jesus with black curly hair and rosy cheeks.

His hand has three digits raised and two down as if blessing the person looking at him.

He has a halo and is wearing a gown and is perched on his mother’s knee and she too has a halo.

The monks at the Monastery of St Stephen on an island in Lake Hayq in the north of the African country believe the icon, known as The One Who Listens, to be miraculous.

The central panel of the triptych had over the centuries become blackened with the sprinkling of perfume that the monks use as they worship.

The hugely important and stunning painted wood panel is now visible in its original coloured glory, showing a pale-faced Jesus with black curly hair and rosy cheeks.

His hand has three digits raised and two down as if blessing the person looking at him.

He has a halo and is wearing a gown and is perched on his mother’s knee and she too has a halo.

The monks at the Monastery of St Stephen on an island in Lake Hayq in the north of the African country believe the icon, known as The One Who Listens, to be miraculous.

The artist had great skill, which is particularly obvious in the detail of Mary’s robes.

In the central panel are three other figures, two archangels, Michael and Gabriel, armed with swords ready to protect the saviour and the third, St Stephen, after whom the monastery is named.

The side panels have 12 figures upon them all looking inwards towards the central picture.

They include Abuna TeklelyesusMoa, who sponsored the work, various saints including St Peter and St Paul, and abbots from the monastery.

It is one of the most celebrated icons in Ethiopia and is now housed in a special museum with other ancient relics.

The British charity The Ethiopian Heritage Fund sent experts to preserve the painting that had previously been covered with varnish.

Blair Priday from the charity, said: “This icon is one of the most celebrated in Ethiopia and because of its veneration, over time, the central panel had become blackened and was later painted over with thick layers of varnish as protection.

“The faces of the mother and child were barely visible.

“The varnish was carefully removed so it regained the original luminosity.

“The icon’s repair was undertaken by Laurie Morocco, a foremost icon restore, who camped in the monastery’s grounds while he did the work.

“In the mid 15th century a new technique of painting on wood with an undercoating of Gesso was introduced resulting in a much more luminous effect.

“When the varnish was removed by Laurie, one of the glories of Ethiopian art was visible once more.

“St Stephen’s was a very important monastery and seat of learning, and although it was raided and lost some of its relics, many remained including a beautiful cross, manuscripts and this icon.

“This ancient seat of learning now has a museum where these incredible treasures are displayed in a small museum within the monastery

“We could not have carried out the work without the support of the Bureau of Culture and the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Church and our expert advisor Jacques Mercier.”

Christianity was adopted by the Ethiopians in the fourth century when King Ezra, ruler of the Axumite kingdom, was converted.

The country boasts one of the world’s oldest illustrated Christian manuscripts – the Garima Gospels – which the charity has also conserved.

The charity has also been working on the rock churches of Tigray in the highlands of north east Ethiopia.

These are built high in the sandstone cliffs that dominate the landscape.

The churches are carved out of the rock and contain many beautiful paintings of Christian saints many of which are indigenous to Ethiopia.

In a church in Bahera, the saints on the church pillars had been splashed with lime wash which has now been cleaned off.

The frescos that cover the walls of Debta Tsion are currently being conserved.

Source

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