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March 2, 2002

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Today is St Georges day, which takes place on the third week of November. Ethiopian's use the Julian calendar, 7 1/2 years behind our western Gregorian calendar. By their calendar, the current month and year is November of 1994. Ethiopians start their year during our month of September. They use 12 months of 30 days with a 13th month of 5 or 6 days. Confused? Ethiopians count the daily hours their own way too. The first hour occurs after daybreak. Six o'clock Ethiopian time is noon our time. Whenever you ask for the time you must follow up with the question: "Is that faranji (foreigner) time?"
People press their faces and bodies against the church wall and the holy books presented by the priests.
It's not raining, priests prefer to preach under colorful umbrellas.
St George's day is special, so priests performed many baptisms in the rock hewn corridors.
Ethiopians showcase many different crosses: Greek Orthodox, Byzantine, Catholic, Coptic. This one is the Lalibela cross. The painting depicts St George slaying a dragon.
Within this cave, the priests chanted to a heavy drum beat. It's an interesting mass guaranteed to keep you awake.