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Ethiopian Christmas

Christmas, called Lidet, is not the primary religious and secular festival that it has become in Western countries. Falling on 7 January (29th December Ethiopian calendar), it is celebrated after 43 days fasting known as Advent, with a spectacular procession, which begins at 6 a.m. and lasts until 9 a.m. After the mass service, people go home to break the fast with the meat of chicken or lamb or beef accompanied with injera, a pancake like bread made from a local grain called t'ef, wat and the traditional drinks (i.e. tella or tej). The injera is used to scoop up the wat. The meal is served in beautifully decorated baskets.

Only the children receive presents. This is usually something simple such as clothes. Children also play a game at this time of year called Genna (similar to hockey). Now Christmas has also come to be known by that name.