Christmas in Lalibela

Following the Julian calendar, this East African, Orthodox Christian nation celebrates Christmas on the 7th January each year.

In Lalibela, one of the holiest sites in Ethiopia, tens of thousands of pilgrims gather for mass in the town's 12 rock-hewn churches. All through the night there's chanting, singing, swaying and praying – an evocative sight if you're lucky enough to witness it.

Pilgrims gather on Christmas eve for the all-night Christmas celebrations at the Bet Maryam (Church of the Virgin Mary), Lalibela, Ethiopia.

Christmas in Lalibela is an extraordinary experience as the town's population more than doubles in size in the weeks preceding Lidet. In advance of the three-day celebration, tens of thousands pilgrims gather, camping in the hills around the town and its famous rock-hewn churches.