“One could say, it has been reduced to the basics”

by Steven Hofmann, Martina Zelt,  2014/01/28

Since 2012, humedica coordinator Steven Hofmann has gained intensive insights into the Ethiopian culture, one of the poorest countries in the world. But that doesn't mean that the people there renounce the important feasts like Christmas!

The Ethiopians do not only celebrate New Year's Day already in September, no, Christmas as well takes place at an unusual time for us. Steven Hofmann is reporting about how and when Ethiopian families celebrate Christmas and how the distribution of the presents from the annual “Geschenk mit Herz” campaign went on:

“When, in Germany, the Christmas tree has already been disposed of, when the last stars and Christmas baubles have been put into the decorations cardboard box and when only few things remember us of this feast, then it is time, in Ethiopia, to start celebrating Christmas. Because in this Eastern-African country, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th and also in a different way than we know it in Europe.

Especially the whole “jazz around” differs from the European manner of celebrating the feast. One could say, it has been reduced to the basics.

As a European, even in my second year in Ethiopia I haven't yet got used to the fact that Christmas is being celebrated in a much simpler way here and that our Western kitsch is nearly completely ignored. Even if there are some European or American influences in Ethiopia now, the few Christmas trees or Father Christmas are really an exception. And you will only rarely come across “Jingle Bells” and punch.

The Ethiopian Christmas celebration clearly focuses on the community with friends and family. On January 7th, Christmas Day, the usually very busy streets of the city are empty because everybody is at home with the family, celebrating together, singing some songs and eating the best meal the kitchen can offer.

Naturally, we also celebrated Christmas with all families and children of our family sponsorship program. Each of our four projects – which are partly in the capital Addis Abeba, partly in smaller, countryside villages - had its very special Christmas celebration program, in which mostly the children themselves had managed everything. They recited poems, showed dances, played small theatre performances and sang happy songs. In Jijiga they had even organized a special Christmas excursion for all children.

Many happy children with their unwrapped presents in Debre Zeit. Photo: humedica/ Steven Hofmann

So, everywhere a colorful program was offered, which the children as well as the parents enjoyed very much. And to complete the celebrations, lemonade and pastries were offered.

And what about presents? Thanks to the humedica campaign “Geschenk mit Herz” a nicely wrapped present was offered to every child. Already at the beginning of the Christmas celebrations the children were very curious about these presents and they were excited to know, what could be hidden inside.

The joy about the presents was great, naturally. This year, every child received a t-shirt, a school-book and some sweets. Thus, a total of 1,000 Ethiopian girls and boys could be offered a “Geschenk mit Herz”. I can only try to transmit the message, how important this sign of affection is for these children. So, I want to say 'Thank you very much!', again.”

Thanks to the family sponsorship program, Christmas celebrations in Ethiopia could be arranged so lovingly, also this year. A family sponsorship not only supports and protects the whole family at Christmas time, but the whole year long. It opens new perspectives and gives hope!

Become part of this kind of help, too, and adopt an Ethiopian family! Also a directed donation will surely be for the benefit of the needy families! Thank you very much!

      humedica e. V.
      Reference “Family Sponsorships”
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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