Ras Tafari Renaissance

Greetings in the name of His & Her Imperial Majesties Qedamawi Haile Sellassie I & Itege Menen Asfaw,


Ras Tafari Renaissance writes again to give perspective to the Ethiopian holiday of Genna or otherwise called “YeLidet Be’al”.  Because of the calculations of the Ethiopic calendar, (which have been kept for aeons…) we find that the Christmas that is known in the Western world, using the Gregorian calendar doesn’t correspond with the Ethiopic calculations.  Instead of December 25th, or the twenty-fifth day of the 12th month(Gregorian), we see that the date arrives on January 7th, for only the sighting of the man-child whom would be called CHRIST.

(Orthodox Christian teachings give this as a testimony for the birth)

Ethiopian Calendar calculations of the "Adoration of the Magi" occuring on the 28th & 29th of the Ethiopic month of Tahsas.  - documentation provided ethkogserv.com http://ethkogserv.org/faith_.htm
Ethiopian Calendar calculations of the “Adoration of the Magi” occuring on the 28th & 29th of the Ethiopic month of Tahsas.
– documentation provided ethkogserv.com http://ethkogserv.org/faith_.htm

During the first three centuries [A.D. – Anno Domini/After the Death of Christ], in the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Cyprus, the Nativity of Christ was combined together with the Feast of His Baptism on January 6, and called “Theophany” (“Manifestation of God”). This was because of a belief that Christ was baptized on anniversary of His birth, which may be inferred from St John Chrysostom’s sermon on the Nativity of Christ: “it is not the day on which Christ was born which is called Theophany, but rather that day on which He was baptized.”

[according to documentation from Orthodox Church of America]


star from the east - wise kings from the east (Star of Bethlehem)

By Ethiopic calculations the birth of Christ, occurs on the Julian calendar‘s framework; predating the Gregorian.  In Eastern Christian (or Orthodox Christian sects) some, Orthodox Christians observe the “Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds” on January 6th, & the following day may observe, the “Adoration of the Magi” (or otherwise known as the three kings/wise men) on January 7.  Other Orthodox Christians may attend church liturgies on the 6th, or both.

yelidet Qen (gena)


The narratives and documentation of the differences between the interpretations of the Christians denominations of churches subject to their specific geographical locations vary as well.  But, as RRR continues in its study and scrutiny of the information put forward by many we find ourselves shedding many layers confusion with each and every step.

Christ presented in the Temple to Simeon (Luke 2: 25-26) painted by James J. Tissot
Christ presented in the Temple to Simeon (Luke 2: 25-26) painted by James J. Tissot

**(the following information is sourced from a third-party with the exception of the artwork; [RRR disclaimer] this information is cited from http://www.tripatini.com/profiles/blogs/gena-ethiopian-christmas )

We don’t have Santa Claus here.

[RasTafariRenaissance (interjection) THANK GOD!!!]

We never saw him in the streets carrying big sacks and presenting Christmas gifts for our kids. We never saw the snow falling down on our roofs or on the ground. It doesn’t matter though. We have our own Christmas; a Christmas on which we share big smiles that you wouldn’t see the rest of the year afterward. Let’s just flip through few pages of the Good Book and see how we came to own our own Christmas.

Ye’GenaChe’wata (the game on Gena) የገና ጨዋታ

Carry the clubs and set out to the field for waiting you is the ancient game Gena! Here we have a very interesting story on how we came to have the game.

On the days of Herod, according to the books we were able to consult during the preparation of this writing, the Wise men who travelled in search of Jesus the Son were not just three.  There were twelve tribes each with 100, 000 people. But, on their way they had to fight with ‘armenewoch’ destroying 9 of the tribes. Only three of them were able to survive the battle and keep their journey. Mantusimar, Bedidasphar and Melku.

(in Western Christian tradition) their names are listed as Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior; they were the three leaders of the tribes. The Bible knows them as the (3)Three Wise Men.

 James Tissot's painting – The Magi Journeying (Les rois mages en voyage) – Brooklyn Museum
James Tissot’s painting – The Magi Journeying (Les rois mages en voyage) – Brooklyn Museum

Now, as they cross his land Herod met the wise men. He asked them what they were in search of. Innocent in heart, they told him that they were looking for the king that had been prophesied to be born on those days. Herod asked of them again that they would tell him where the child was born on their way back home. They agreed. On the journey to Bethlehem Herod sent a spy named Roor. He was supposed to go with the wise men to Bethlehem and bring the news of Jesus’ whereabouts to Herod so that he could go there and kill the child for prophesy said that he was the king of Israel.

Emperor Menelik II having a grand Christmas dinner with his subjects _ dated Jan 7, 1900
Emperor Menelik II having a grand Christmas dinner with his subjects _ dated Jan 7, 1900

A star in the sky served the wise men as a guide. But after they met Herod the star was difficult to be seen. This happening vexed the wise men that they cast a lot amongst the leaders of the tribes. It fell on the tribe lead by Melku where the secret agent Roor was brought in to.

The stranger was found to be the cause for the disappearance of the guiding star. They cut off his head and played with it hitting and passing it amongst them.

Now, the angel of God appeared in the wise men’s dream and told them to change their route when they went back. They listened to the Angle of the Lord and went back to their land without telling anything about the Child’s whereabouts to Herod. He was so wrathful that he sent soldiers to the land of Bethlehem and slaughtered all the children under two years old.

melkam gena - genna - yelidet

As a memory for this happening a game called YeGena Chewata has been played by Ethiopians since Christianity was introduced. The game is played with a stick much like a golf club and a little wooden ball named after the spy – Roor.

YeGenaChewata in the olden times of the nation grants a special democracy. It was the rare occasion where a slave and his owner play with equal status. As the saying goes,

[also sourced from Amran Ethiopia Tour & Travel company]

 – – Biblcal references for this story = [the Gospel of Matthew chpt.2]

’Be GenaChewata

gena - yelidet - genna (Ethiopian game Chewata)2


The literal meaning of which is that on the game of Gena the servant’s owner no matter what happened would not get angry at anyone.

gena - yelidet - genna (Ethiopian game Chewata)

**other refs. **








the Christmas Carol by John H. Hopkins “We Three Kings”

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Three_Kings


7 responses to “♔ Ethiopian Celebration of Christ’s Birth _ Genna/Ye’Lidet Be’Al (ገና – የልደት በዓል) ♔”

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