Today is Christmas…
Ethiopia, the only country in Africa never to be colonised by a European country, still follows the ancient Julian calendar. The country is known to have the oldest established Christian church on earth, established in Biblical times, (not through slavery or colonisation), and still celebrates Christmas on the original date that it was established in ancient times, which is today, January 7th. Christmas is Ethiopia is known by two names, Genna and Lidet.
The adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1582 by Pope Gregory 13th, (which has now become established for most of the world), moved Christmas from January 7th to December 25th, to align with certain pagan festivals and other observances that happened around that time, essentially attempting to take them over.
The moving of Christmas to try to extinguish pagan and other local beliefs around the Roman conquered and influenced world, was part of the expansion of Christianity (i.e. the Roman Empire) at that time, that had global ambitions.
This expansion took many splintering forms over the next hundreds of years, including Western imperialism and colonialism. Ethiopia, despite some fierce defensive battles againt Rome’s attempts to take it over, (most notebly the 1896 ‘Battle of Adwa’, and the resistance againt Mussolini from 1936 – 1941), Ethiopia has always managed to defend itself and remain a sovereign country. The Battle of Adwa in 1896 saw Ethiopian troops defeat Rome by its own strength, and the resistance against Mussolini included British and other ‘allied’ troops.
The history of the world is made up of stories of dominance, politics, power, and fights for freedom in resistance to such dominant forces.
It is of no coincidence that Ethiopia is known to be the site of the oldest human remains, the ancestoral home of every human on earth, the cradle of civilisation. Ethiopia is a symbol of survival.
So in remembrance and allegiance to the spirit of strength and freedom in the face of dominance, in whatever form that takes, in whatever struggles for your independence you may currently face in your personal life, I wish you a Happy Christmas, or as they say in Ethiopia, Melkam Genna, Melkam Lidet to you all !!
Ras Dr Shawn-Naphtali Sobers – 7/1/17