Lalibela, Ethiopia’s Holiest city, is the principal place of pilgrimage for Orthodox worshippers in Ethiopia, and is famous for its unique Churches: Monolithic and Hollowed out from solid rock they are a Unesco World Heritage site. One of the most important annual celebrations is Christmas on January 7. Christmas is called Genna, “the vigil of nativity” in geez, and it celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Like Easter it is preceded by an extended fast of 40 days. People attend a midnight mass singing of special canticles, and then share a family meal to break the fasting period. The popular hockey-like game called Genna, is played in the afternoon by youths in traditional dress, to commemorate the shepherds who were playing this game outside the stable while Jesus was born. In Lalibela on the eve of Christmas, thousands of pilgrims throng the Beta Maryam Church and the nearby hills. Priests sing hymns, beat drums and rattle sistras all night long. As day breaks, the Church empties and some hundred Priests climb up to form a line along the edge of the precipice surrounding the Church. Their chanting is answered in antiphony by the ululating voices of another group of Clerics in the courtyard below. The courtyard Priests represent the world’s people, and the Priests high above represent the Angels. Their singing is a symbol of the Unity between Heaven and Earth!