Logo Cross and CrescentCross and Crescen- Ethiopia as an Example of Religious Coexistence

Marking the Year

Religious Festivals as Highlights in the Cycle of Life

Religious festivals are numerous in Islam and Christianity. They are an important phase in the continuum of everyday life. The including rituals are socially regulated and represent a collective action. Their aim is the recalling of religious events to confirm a certain tradition and the status quo. Their symbolic meaning is of significant importance for every believer.

Usually, the participation raises the individual to another level of spirituality. Today Christianity and Islam are both officially recognized religions in Ethiopia. This is demonstrated by the fact that the most important festivals are celebrated nation-wide as holidays.

Religious celebrations like Mesqel (Finding of the Cross), Genna (Christmas), Id-al-Fitr (end of Ramadan), Id-al-Arafa, Fasika (Eastern) and Mawlid (Birthday of Prophet Mohammed) are broadcast by TV and radio.

Apart from the ceremonial aspects social activities do also play important roles during these festivals. It is a common habit to visit relatives and neighbours on days like this and have a more sumptuous meal than usual. Since the main Christian religious festival follow long times of fasting, slaughtering and eating meat belongs inseparably to these celebrations.

Children learn to recite the Koran for celebrations like Mawlid.Priests and laymen celebrate Genna above Bete Maryam Church in Lalibela.
The Muslim population of Kemise in Wello celebrates Id-al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan with a communal prayer in front of the big mosque. Children perform a traditional religious dance at the Timket (Epiphany) festival.

Goethe Institut Addis Abeba