January 07, 2013

Ethiopian Christmas

In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, they still follow the Julian calendar, so Christmas day is celebrated on January 7th. My friend Caitlin reminded me of this this morning when she posted the icon above. And it a) consoled me because today I am taking down all my Christmas decorations (though the nativity is staying up for another week, when we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, on Sunday).

A few years ago I went to an incredible exhibit at the New York Public Library about illuminated manuscripts, and saw, for the first time, Ethiopian manuscripts, and fell completely in love. These, I thought to myself, would make the most incredible Illustrated bible for Children. They are accessible the way folk art is; they are richly colored, the way Children's books ought to be; they are stylized and simplified, the way other Icons are, but they are not stiff; they have more movement and action; they will not to terrify, rather they engage and entice. An Ethiopian Illustrated Bible of Children. I still love this idea, and in another life, that life where I am an art scholar and children's book publisher, I'd make that my first project.

Also, in case you were wondering, Ethiopian food is really really good. Merry Christmas, Ethiopia!

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