A 6.30 am up so that breakfast at 7am outside which eventually came (scrambled eggs again).
Off to Kulubi and first a short stop just outside of Harar at Lake Ade'lle. Nearly by is the local village of Aweday which is known as the best place to export chat from this region.
I had particularly wanted to visit the hill top church here and it is unfortunate that the actual key day is tomorrow. So I had hope to see at least something in preparation leading up to the feast of Saint Gabriel (Kulubi Gabriel), the Archangel. St Gabriel is the Patron Saint who guards over homes and churches.
This is celebrated on 19 December Ethiopian calendar (28 Dec Gregorian calendar). Orthodox Tewahedo Christians mark the celebration with colorful processions and ceremonies. It culminates with a pilgrimage to Kulubi. Pilgrims (about 100,000 followers) walk up the hills to the church to fulfill a vow and give gifts to the church. Some pilgrims carry heavy rocks on their back up the hill to the church. Many pilgrims carry heavy burdens as penance, children are brought to be baptized, and offerings are made to be distributed to the poor. Kulubi is the largest pilgrimage place in Ethiopia.
As we drove towards Kulubi the number of people walking there grew and grew the closer we got to the town and church. Being a day early I had expected some activity but was totally surprised at the huge number. A warning sign of what laid ahead of me was the kilometre of hastily erected road side tarpaulin covered stalls selling clothing through to souvenirs plus the many make shift restaurants.
Somehow being early, we were able to park less than 50 metres from the church gates.
Men and women in white were praying or walking slowly towards the church. As usual I will let the following pictures do the talking. Asking if I could take photos inside the church, I wasn't the only one who captured the inside scene.
Pilgrimage To Kulubi
Saturday, December 27, 2014
K’ulubī, Oromiya, Ethiopia