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On September 27, Ethiopians celebrate the Finding of the True Cross (Meskal). This holiday commemorates Empress Helen’s 326 AD discovery of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, as well as the physical presence of the True Cross at the church of Egziabber Ab. As Meskal daisies come into bloom, the holiday is celebrated with dancing, feasting, bonfires, and gun salutes.
The Ethiopian Christmas (Genna) falls on January 7. It is a serious holiday, celebrated by a church service that lasts into the night. People move from one church to another, and young men play a game that resembles hockey.
Two weeks after Christmas comes the feast of Epiphany (Timket). One of the greatest festivals in the country, it is a three-day affair with vibrant parades.
The Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash) has been celebrated since the early days of Ethiopia, with dancing, singing, and the exchange of gifts, cards, and good wishes.