Christians in Nigeria may have forgotten Christmas festivities held on 25 December 2017, but in countries such as Ethiopia, Egypt, Syria, Russia, the gongs and cymbals of celebration are just being beaten.
Adherents of the ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Church will be marking their Christmas tomorrow, simultaneously as it is observed by Orthodox Christians in Russia, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Palestine.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Christians who form more than 50 per cent of the country’s 102.4 million population will hold a Lidet Christmas Service today followed by a traditional Christmas feast after the service.
Tomorrow is the Christmas Day. Orthodox Christians in Armenia mark their own Christmas on 19 January.
“Lidet or Genna is the Ethiopian name for Christmas and is marked by special ceremonies. The difference of date is due to the use of the Julian calendar which is based on the year of Grace 7 or 8 years after Anno Domini [the year of Our Lord].
“The calendar in use in the west is the Gregorian calendar under which Christmas is observed on December 25th.
In Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar of the Holy Land and Jordan, Archbishop Mar Swerios Malki Murad, was the first to arrive today, as a series of activities kicked off to celebrate Christmas in Palestine tomorrow.
The Palestine News Agency reported that Archbishop Murad’s procession started from the Monastery of Saint Mark in Jerusalem’s Old City and arrived at Bethlehem’s Manger Square where it was received by officials.
Others who received the procession were the governor of Bethlehem Jibrin Bakri, Minister of Tourism Rola Mayaya, mayor of Bethlehem Anton Salman as well as other officials.
The Syrian Orthodox procession will be followed by the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Anba Antonius, then the Greek Orthodox and finally the procession of the Ethiopian Orthodox.
The orthodox churches mark Christmas Day on January 7 and the Armenian Orthodox Church is the last to celebrate Christmas in the Holy Land with the Christmas Eve procession to Bethlehem on January 18 and Christmas Day on January 19