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Why nonChristians Are Drawn to Christmas

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 24, 2013


One curious trend in the global economy is how many countries with few Christians now enjoy aspects of Christmas – the giving of gifts, an exchange of cards, even singing “Last Christmas” by Exile. What other religion has had its holiday traditions transcend so many borders?

Christmas has become the world’s most widely celebrated religious holiday, even if it is more commercially exploited than religiously observed in nonChristian countries – and even if the Santa Claus fantasies overshadow the day’s real meaning: the coming of Christ to humanity.

To be sure, the spread of Christmas is driven in large part by retailers – and governments – trying to find new reasons to drum up consumer spending. (Halloween and Valentine’s Day are becoming popular, too.) In many Muslim countries, it is this materialistic aspect that is often decried by Islamic preachers.

And sometimes, the Christian part gets lost in translation: Foreigners in Japan tell the tale of a Tokyo department store that once decorated a window with a Santa Claus on a cross.

But not all imports of Christmas are purely secular or for profit. In Pakistan, where Christians comprise less than 2 percent of the population, Muslim families welcome Christian carolers singing door to door. In mainly Hindu India, where Christmas Day is a state holiday, many schools hold Christmas celebrations and people give sweets to neighbors.

The most explosive growth in celebrating a secular Christmas has been in China. Since the 1990s, the Communist Party has loosened its control over this “Western holiday.” Urban youth have embraced it, seeing Christmas as an opportunity to give gifts, celebrate with friends, and tie up a romance with a wedding. Stores often record their biggest sales around Christmas. Many Chinese can be seen wearing reindeer antlers or Santa hats. Some give specially wrapped apples as gifts (the Chinese word for apple sounds like “Silent Night.”)

As long as Chinese see only the commercial aspects, the government may not worry about the religious meaning. Still, in 2006 a group of university students started an online petition to boycott Christmas, claiming it is a Western plot to erode Chinese culture.

The Santa-esque commercialism may achieve that. But certainly not the universal message of Christmas as seen in its practice. The giving of gifts, for example, serves as a reminder to think of others rather than be thought well-of. The lights, sounds, and colors of Christmas are symbols of universal joy. Joining with family and friends at Christmas provides a moment to celebrate tenderness, kindness, and forgiveness. However crudely Christmas is exported around the world, its practices can sometimes put its eternal meaning into action. Who doesn’t want to be merry and bright?


Merry Christmas ’till Genna!


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Merry Christmas / Genna Ethiopia

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on January 6, 2012




የምሥራች ደስ ይበለን

የዓለም መድኃኒት ተወለደልን

የምሥራች ደስ ይበለን

ጌታችን ተወልዶ አይተነው መጣን

ንጉሥ ሄሮድስ ይህን ሲሰማ

ፈልጋችሁ አምጡት በቀን በጨለማ

አሽከሮቹም እንደታዘዙት

በኮከብ ተመርተው ሕፃኑን አገኙት

ሰገዱለት ከመሬት ወድቀው

ወርቅና ዕጣኑን በረከቱን ሰጥተው


The Ethiopian Christmas known as Ganna is celebrated on January 7th. This celebration takes place in ancient churches carved from solid volcanic rock and also in modern churches that are designed in three concentric circles. Men and boys sit separately from girls and women. Also the choir sings from the outside circle. People receive candles as they enter the church. After lighting the candles everyone walks around the church three times, then stands throughout the mass, which may last up to three hours. Food served at Christmas usually includes injera, a sourdough pancake like bread. Injera serves as both plate and fork. Doro wat, a spicy chicken stew might be the main meal. A piece of the injera is used to scoop up the wat. Baskets decorated beautifully are used to serve the wat. Gift giving is a very small part of Christmas celebration. Children usually receive very simple presents such as clothing. In Ethiopia Christmas day is January 7, so on Christmas Eve the city is crowded with pilgrims from all parts of the country. They remain outdoors all night, praying and chanting. In the morning, a colorful procession makes its way to a nearby hilltop where a service is held. Three young men march at the head of the crowd, lashing whips from left to right to keep the people in line. Those who worship are fed with bread and wine that has been blessed by priests. After the service is over the rest of the day is spent dancing, playing sport and feasting.






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Merry Christmas!

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on January 6, 2010

January 7, it’s Christmas in Ethiopia

Christ is born! He comes to empty Himself, and reveal God in human form. Christ is born! He became everything that we are, that we might become all that He is. Christ is born! Born in the cave and laid in the manger; yet His glory shone from the manger as from the Mercy Seat. Christ is born! All the angels and the whole creation rejoice! Christ is born! Empty of self in the poverty of humility. Christ is born! Radiant in the glory of His divinity, shining in the obscurity of human darkness. Christ is born! Enlightening with grace all creation. Christ is born! The pledge of the Age to Come: The radiant Coal of the deified New World.

Continue reading…

The Three Wise Men



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