Genna is Ethiopian Christmas, and coincides with other Orthodox Christmas celebrations around the world. The feast marks the end of the 40-day fasting period of Advent. On Christmas Eve, the faithful participate in church services through the night before celebrating with family and friends on Christmas day. Lalibela one is the most popular place to celebrate Genna, as thousands of pilgrims flock to the holy city for this celebration.
LALIBELA, ETHIOPIA – JANUARY 08: Priest and deacons pause during a processional around Beta Mariam Church on January 8, 2016 in Lalibela, Ethiopia. Amoungst the numerous icons and crosses the priest carry the original Afro Aygebam or “Lalibela Cross” which dates back to the twelthf century during the rule of King Lalibela. Thousands of adhearants to the Ethiopian Orthodox Faith descend upon the Ethiopian city of Lalibela to observe Orthodox Christmas which this year takes place January 6th, 7th and 8th of 2016. Christmas or Gena as it is known in the Amharic tongue usually takes place on January 7 and is observed throughout the Orthodox communities of the world but the celebrations held in Ethiopia this year span 3 days due to a leap year in the Ethiopian calender. The city of Lalibela is home to 11 rock hewn churches constructed by Ethiopian King Lalibela during the course of his rule in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and are deemed amoung the seven man made wonders of the world. Some of those that make the pilgramage to Lalibela come from all over Ethiopia and all over the world with some pilgrims in attendance having walked 3 weeks to attend the celebrations. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)