Yesterday, 7th January, was Christmas Day in Ethiopia. “Melkam Ledet!” (That’s Happy Christmas in Tigrigna)
We woke up early to visit the local church and met a dog on our path, carrying a goat’s head in his mouth! This was the remnant of the early morning slaughter of various animals who make up the meat-laden Christmas feast. The Christian people here have been fasting (on a vegetarian diet) for about six weeks and yesterday was the first day to eat meat again.
At the church we had missed the service (the locals get up at 4am but we only managed 6am!) but met a number of college students making their way home again. The priests at the church invited us to drink tella and eat maize injera and shiro with them, which we felt very honoured to do. We had a wander around the local area and saw various slaughtering areas, where the men were working on preparing the meat.
At lunch we walked into Abi Adi town and went to eat a Christmas meal with Latina, the administrative cashier at the College. She has a daughter called Selam and the four of us spent a lovely time together, eating chicken and goat and then drinking Ethiopian coffee. We chatted about Ethiopian music and watched a variety of songs and singers on the television. Selam is going to help us make a CD of all our favourite music so we can take it back to the UK, where I am sure listening to it will bring back nostalgic memories.
In the evening we visited the home of the College Dean, Ato Kifle (Ato meaning Mr). Again, we were fed until we burst and indulged in more coffee! Finally, we popped into Mulubrhan’s house for – yes, you’ve guessed it! – another round of coffee! At the end of the night, as we returned to our own home, I couldn’t help laughing at the very large leg bone and hoof of a cow, which had been left on our doorstep by one of the dogs! All the cats and dogs enjoyed Christmas Day meat too!
Everytime we walked anywhere in town we noticed how quiet the streets were, as everyone was with their families at home. It felt like a very peaceful day. I particularly admired the lovely Ethiopian dresses that all the ladies were wearing and the fabulous hairstyles they were all sporting! I’m going to make sure I have some traditional wear and a new Ethiopian style hairdo in time for the Easter celebrations!