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Ganna, Ethiopia

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A brutal ball-and-stick game with high injury potential,
ganna is how the Ethiopians do Christmas (it’s also their name for Christmas).
According to local tradition, the biblical shepherds played the game when they
first heard about the birth of Jesus. But ganna is anything but peaceful. The
balls are made from olive wood or leather, which can easily knock out a player.
Because there are no rules about the size of the fields, the goals are
sometimes so far apart that neither team scores by nightfall on Christmas Eve.

World's Strangest Holiday Traditions

Ganna, Ethiopia

A brutal ball-and-stick game with high injury potential,
ganna is how the Ethiopians do Christmas (it’s also their name for Christmas).
According to local tradition, the biblical shepherds played the game when they
first heard about the birth of Jesus. But ganna is anything but peaceful. The
balls are made from olive wood or leather, which can easily knock out a player.
Because there are no rules about the size of the fields, the goals are
sometimes so far apart that neither team scores by nightfall on Christmas Eve.

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World's Strangest Holiday Traditions

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