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Ethiopian Christmas with the historic route

Ethiopian Christmas with the historic route

$1400 $1000 / per person
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  • Tour Code PETT-FD5
  • Small Group fixed departure
  • 9 days, from 31. Dec 2019 – 08. Jan 2020
  • This tour gives you the chance to celebrate Christmas a second time. Witness an Orthodox Christmas celebration with ancient history & culture of the “Historic Route”

This 9 Days Ethiopian Christmas Festival tour with the Historic Route of Ethiopia takes you to Ethiopia’s Historic North with a visit to some of the major highlights including 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On this tour you will celebrate Ethiopian Christmas around the rock hewn churches of St. Lalibela with pilgrims who came on their barefoot to share the blessing of this special ceremony. You will also visit some of the majour highlights on the Historic Route including the island Monasteries of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile, The Blue Nile Falls, the fairy-tale castles of Gonder , the Siimien Mountains National Park and so much more.

At St. Lalibela, it is celebrated with greater devotion, chanting, dancing, and singing around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela which were built more than 800 years ago. The ancient city of St. Lalibela will be filled with tens of thousands of pilgrims who come from all directions of Ethiopia and from all walks of life to share the blessing of Christmas. Most of the pilgrims reach at St. Lalibela from far off hamlets and inaccessible valleys, walking on their bare foot for days, weeks, and even for months to share the blessing on Christmas day. Even if Ethiopian Christmas is on January 7, there will be different ceremonies to be held around the rock-hewn churches starting the night of 4th January. This is an ancient Christian tradition which has remained unchanged and witnessing this event, you feel like you are transported centuries and centuries back in time.

On the morning of January 7, the biggest celebration will be held around Bete Mariam. On this day, as it has been going on centuries over centuries; the priest will be standing in line with their drums and sistra on the cliff edge of Bete Mariam, called MameGaria. On the bottom there will be some more priests dressed differently to those up on the top the cliff. The priest on the bottom symbolizes the shepherds and the priest on the top cliff symbolizes the angels announcing and celebrating the the birth of Jesus. You can’t help, but witness a scene the same to this one has been going on here on this day centuries over centuries in the same manner.

As you travel by road to the most part, you will visit the country’s Step back in time and explore thousands of years of history, legend, and lore as you take this trip to the Historic Route of Ethiopia to witness one of the most important and ancient festivals celebrated around the rock-hewn churches of St. Lalibela with more visits to the Historic Route.

Rate includes:

  • roundtrip as per program
  • all necessary transfers
  • 8 nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Abeba) in double rooms
  • all meals as stated in the program
  • all entrance fees
  • English speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • farewell-dinner (flight schedule permitting)

Not included:

  • visa fees
  • tips
  • meals not stated in the program
  • All expenses of personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls etc.)
9 Days and 8 Nights

Tour Plan

1

Arrive Addis Ababa

Day 01: December 31: Arrive Addis Ababa Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD), Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driver for the transfer to Hotel. There will be a short drive to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning an optional city tour can be arranged. Overnight: Jupiter Hotel-Addis Ababa.
2

Addis Ababa- Bahirdar (B-D)

Day 02: January 1: Addis Ababa- Bahirdar (B-D) In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stopover at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho and GohaTsion. Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel - Bahirdar
3

Lake Tana-Blue Nile Falls-Bahir Dar (B-D)

Day 03: January 2: Lake Tana-Blue Nile Falls-Bahir Dar (B-D) After breakfast, we will make boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After having lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 KM to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel - Bahirdar.
4

Bahir Dar-Gondar (B-D)

Day 04: January 3: Bahir Dar-Gondar (B-D) After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime. After check in to Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will start tour of Gondar which include: the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasiledas, and we will also visit the famous Debreberhan Selassie adorned with brilliant frescos from inside. Overnight: Goha Hotel-Gondar.
5

Excursion to Simien Mountains National Park (B-D)

Day 05: January 4: Excursion to Simien Mountains National Park (B-D) After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National park. En-route we will be visiting the “Felasha” or the Black Jewish village. Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif. The rest of the day, trek around the park to explore the stunning view and wildlife of the park including Sankaber. Overnight: Goha Hotel - Gondar
6

Gondar – Lalibela –Bete Emanuel night ceremony (B-D)

Day 06: January 5: Gondar – Lalibela –Bete Emanuel night ceremony (B-D) After breakfast start driving through the spectacular landscape to Lalibela. En-route we will stop at Awramba. This community has been founded by ZumraNuru in 1972 with aims to live together peacefully, working collaboratively, sympathetically and cheerfully. They treat each other as brothers and sisters. Gender equality and care for the elderly is also a major subject. In the evening, we will drive to Bete Emanuel to attend the special celebration of Emanuel with chanting and dancing by the priests and deacons. The ceremony will be accompanied by a capacity crowd of pilgrims who came to witness this event from far of hamlets and inaccessible valleys on their bare foot walking for weeks and even months. Overnight: Tukul Village or similar standard - Lalibela
7

January:Lalibela Celebrations at Bete Emanuel (B-D)

Day 07: 06: January:Lalibela Celebrations at Bete Emanuel (B-D) In the morning, we will drive to the sites where we will find the concentration of some of the remarkable rock-hewn churches of Lalibela from 1200 AD. At night, we will attend the Christmas Eve ceremony to be held at Bete Mariam church. This evening, you will attend the Ethiopian Christmas Eve Ceremony with the pilgrims. The dancing by the deacons and the priests continue throughout the night while the pilgrims clap & ululate to the drum beat. At mid night, there will be a candle light ceremony to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Overnight: Tukul Village or similar standard -Lalibela
8

Ethiopian Christmas Eve-Lalibela (B-D)

Day 08: January 7: Ethiopian Christmas Eve-Lalibela (B-D) In the morning, we will once more drive back to Bete Mariam where the biggest festival will be held outside the church on the cliff surround the church. This will mark the final church ceremony of Ethiopian Christmas. On this day, as it has been going on centuries over centuries; the priest will be standing in line with their drums and sistra on the cliff edge of Bete Mariam, called MameGaria. On the bottom there will be some more priests dressed differently to those up on the top the cliff. The priest on the bottom symbolizes the shepherds and the priest on the top cliff symbolizes the angels announcing and celebrating the the birth of Jesus. You can’t help, but witness a scene the same to this one has been going on here on this day centuries over centuries in the same manner. After having lunch and rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include: BeteGebriel, BeteMerkoriosBeteAmanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house. Overnight: Tukul Village or similar standard -Lalibela.
9

Lalibela-Addis Ababa-Departure (B-D)

Day 09, 08.Jan, Lalibela-Addis Ababa-Departure (B-D) After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time optional city tour of Addis Abeba. In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays’ complimentary farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks. (Flight schedule permitting) At the end of the Farwell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour!

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