The Ethiopian calendar is marked by a number of Christian festivals reminiscent of the colorful fiestas common to catholic Latin America. These include the celebration of Christ's baptism at the festival of Timkat, which takes place on the 19th of January every year. The festival, which runs for three days, is marked by massive Masses and late night picnics. Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on 7 January. The Ethiopian New Year, which is called Enkutatash and is celebrated on 11 September, is a colorful affair, with lots of singing and dancing on the streets. 27 September is the date for another Christian festival, Maskal, celebrated by burning giant bonfires in town squares. And also Hidar Tsion which is celebrated in Aksum is fascinating.

Gena or Ethiopian Christmas

The Ethiopian Christmas known as Ganna is celebrated on January 7th. In addition to its marvelous rock churches Lalibela is famous for this celebration. On Eve the city is crowded with hundreds of thousand pilgrims from all parts of the country and 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.