KULUBI GABRIEL - (Celebration of St. Gabriel December 27th & 28th)

Almost every Christian in Ethiopia has a patron Saint and one of the most popular is Gabriel. The 28th of December and 26th of July are dedicated to the annual and colorful celebration of this Saint. The origin of the Church of St. Gabriel is traced back to the last decade of 19th century and it was Ras Mekonnen (Haile Selassie's father) who is credited with the construction. Vast crowds of people congregate on the day of this celebration. People of all ages, sexes, classes and religion gather from all corners of Ethiopia, reaching 100,000 or more. Pilgrims walk to the Church to make or fulfill a vow, to ask favors, or in many cases to give thanks for favors granted. Some carry heavy rocks on their backs, particularly for the last few kilometers uphill to the Church. Babies born through Gabriel's intervention are brought to the front of the Church for baptism. During the duration of the celebration 1,000 babies may be christened, most of them named after Saint Gabriel.