Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What is Gena and why do we celebrate it?

BRRRRR - it's a weee bit chilly here in Nashville today and while the boys are at school I thought I would stop by for a second and fill you in on what we are up to today. If you have friends who have adopted from Ethiopia you may have seen some posts last night and today saying Melkam Gena. Today is in fact Christmas in Ethiopia as well as places such as Bethlehem, Athens, Moscow and others that follow the Julian calendar.

So what is Gena? If you ask Tariku he will tell you it's the day he gets to eat all of his favorite Ethiopian dishes in one sitting.  If you ask me I will tell you it's Ethiopian Christmas - Jan 6th and 7th are known as the "Old Christmas Day" since that is the original designation of the birth of Jesus by the 1st christian roman emperor Constantine, in 325A.D. But in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII changed the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and in doing so the Catholic church moved the celebration to Dec 25th. Since the Eastern church did not have the same beliefs in the pope they did not change their day.

I have been fortunate to be in Ethiopia for Christmas and I can tell you it is greatly different than ours. Church services would begin at 4am or so - everyone dressed in white - candles given out - there was not Christmas splashed in every store or restaurant. No sign of Santa Claus - no in Ethiopia Christmas is far more spiritual - far more simply about the birth of Jesus. And then once church is finished it is time to spend with family and friends. 

 So tonight our Ethiopian American family will celebrate we will dine on the boys favorite Ethiopian dishes, we will talk about the boys birth country it's past it's present and it's future and at the very end we will give our gifts to one another.  So from the Hammons house to yours we say 

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