The walled city of Harer, a vibrant ever growing eastern pearl of Ethiopia is a point of attraction for both the local people and increasing number of foreign visitors for its rich history, innumerable treasures and unique cultural values.
Due to the custom of practicing the Julian calendar in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Christmas or locally called “Genna” or “Lidet” falls a week after the rest of the world, around January 07th mainly.
The day comes after 40 days long fasting among the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians during which period no animal product such as milk, egg and meat will not be consumed and followers will strictly adhere to vegetables and cereals. The 40 days fasting period is to remember the 40 days that Christ was in the wilderness being tempted. Fasting goes from morning till 3:00PM.
Time of New Year is one of the eagerly awaited holidays and well celebrated among the Ethiopians across the country. The time marks the end of the long rainy season that falls between June-August, the starts of class and new carriers too.
Ethiopian mountains and valleys are filled with green carpets and yellowish flower that gives the surrounding a magnificent view catching the eyes ad spirit of any by passers.
The most colorful festival of Ethiopia in an open-air where one can see the jubilations, festivity, dancing and chanting on the air is Timket or Epiphany. The literal meaning of “Timket” is baptism. The festival is celebrated for the remembrance of the day where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in river Jordan.
On this day the ark of covenant will be taken out from the holy of holies to an open-air field but with a very slow and stagnant movement of people who carry the Ark being followed by deacons & priests that wear colorful costumes singing, dancing and chanting around. Then the mass surrounding them voicing up the religious chanting and song. Then the other great mass singing and dancing their own cultural and traditional music.
Meskel, literarily means cross is the second colorfully celebrated festival according to the Ethiopian calendar following the New Year; Enkutatash.
This religious festival that is awaited by many eagerly marks the commemoration of the finding of the true cross by Queen Eleni, mother of Alexander the great. Legend argues that for many years the cross up on which Jesus was crucified was missing from the face of Israel. But after long period of time, the Queen lead by the spirit of God ordered people to make bonfire and one the time of its burning she followed the smoke to where it was landing and made digging of that particular hilly area where the smoke rests.
Easter marks a very important interest and enthusiasm among the Christian community in Ethiopia being the last major religious festival.
Believers of the Ethiopian Orthodox church await its arrival with great eager passing through a long lent period of 55 days where no animal product of meat, milk or egg shall not be consumed during this period. Fasting runs from morning till 3Pm in the afternoon. Many spend most of their time at church doing prayers and performing other religious commitments.
The Ethiopian Orthodox cburch is credited for dedicating each day of the month to its 40 and nmore saints and Angels and of these some of them are colorfully celebrated once in a year. The vigin Mary being an important figue in the belief of the followers, its day is colorfully celebrated annually in the sacred city of Axum, where the original Ark of the covenant is believed to be.
The days of the celebration vary but for this year of 2016 it will be falling on 30 November.