• Yoshika Lowe

Play Ganna (or Leddat)

Ganna, which is the name for Christmas in Ethiopia, is also the name of a game played there on Christmas. Tradition holds that ganna is the game played by shepherds when they first heard of Jesus' birth. Ganna is a game similar to field hockey. It is played with a stick which has a hooked end, and a ball made of wood or leather. Since the game can become quite rough, traditionally, only boys and men play this game.

You may enjoy improvising a game of ganna with your family. Some suggestions: use hockey sticks or brooms and a soft ball or even a Nerf™ ball. Divide into two teams and mark off a line on either side of your ‘field’ that will be the goal line. Agree on a winning score point. There are a number of rules, so these will be an oversimplified version of the game.

Tipoff: The game starts with a player from each team meeting in the middle of the field squared off on either side of the ball. Both players must hit the ground twice with their stick, then clash their sticks, immediately after which the ball is batted by the quicker of the two.

Game Play: Every time a team scores, the teams change sides. Although a player may catch a ball in the air and hit it or strike it (with the bat), he may not pick up the ball with the hands directly from the ground. The player may, however, place the ball on the top of either foot with the help of the stick. He may then toss the ball into the air with his foot and catch it with his hand, throw it into the air and bat it with the stick (this is called a kamala). However, an opponent is allowed to knock the ball out of your hand during a kamala, so it is best to do this fancy move when you have outpaced your opponents.

#Ethiopia #Ganna #Christmasgame