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Ethiopia: Orthodox Christians shop at markets and celebrate christmas

Ethiopian Orthodox christian   -  
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Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are observing Christmas, or Genna in Amharic, which is celebrated on Jan. 7.

The festive mood is palpable in local markets, where people went to shop for groceries and decorations the day before the holiday.

Tilahun Teshome sells chicken at Shola market, one of the busiest places in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Teshome said he is happy with the business and hopes for peace and stability in his country.

"What I desire for Ethiopians, both near and far, is primarily peace. And I also hope they receive love," he said.

At Bole Medhane Alem Cathedral, one of the most popular churches in Addis Ababa, thousands of faithful gathered to pray and sing from late afternoon until night.

They light candles and follow the lead of priests, who chant spiritual songs.

The congregants wear white garments, a symbol of purity and protection from evil forces in their tradition.

Kibir Girma, a 23-year-old woman, is among the worshippers who went to the cathedral.

"It is very beautiful to be part of this Christian community. I hope all the young people come here and celebrate with us," Girma said.

However, not everyone in Ethiopia is celebrating.

The ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Amhara and Oromia regions have cast a shadow over the Christmas festivities.

Ethnic violence and rebel attacks have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere.

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