Previously KNOT JUST PICS. Same shit, different name.

Lalibela – Orthodox Christmas

On the Ethiopian Christmas eve we made our way in the pitch black of night to Bet Emmanuel, the largest of the rock hewn churches at Lalibela. We were witness to one of the most amazing spectacles of religion we have ever seen. The service consisted of dense rows of priests slowly chanting and swaying side to side accompanied by a slow tribal beating of  the drum. We thought this was incredible, especially surrounded by hundreds of pilgrims, but this was nothing in comparison to when the drummers picked up the pace and beat and we experienced rows of priests competing in what looked like some kind of dance-off. This was accompanied by the ululating of the crowd, clapping and cheering. The energy was incredible and just as it reached its climax, the drumming would suddenly stop and the priests immediately returned to a seated position while a sacred relic was brought around or more slow chanting began.

Both Christmas eve and Christmas are filled with these amazing dancing priests and this was by far one of our highlights of our trip. What was also mind blowing, is these church services have not changed in the last 800 odd years! Meaning the service we witnessed would proabably have looked the same as it had the first year the rock-hewn churches were built!

Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (139)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (136)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (137)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (138)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (140)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (141)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (142)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (143)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (144)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (145)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (146)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (147)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (148)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (149)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (150)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (168)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (169)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (170)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (171)

We were still on a high from our experiences at the Christmas Eve celebrations and from exploring the churches so when it became dark on the actual night of Christmas we were filled with suspense of what the night would hold as we had been told that the Christams celebration was truly spectacular.

The Christmas celebration is held at Bet Maryam the most exquistily decorated church. We again made our way through the mass of people, clambering up rock faces and navigating our way to Bet Maryam through the maze of 10m sheer dropoffs in the darkness. Around us people were lighting their ways with traditional candles, and some even with the light from their cellphones.

Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (172)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (173)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (174)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (175)

The sea of white robed figures lay on every surface imaginable in order to get as close as possible to the Christmas service which started at 10pm and ended when the sun rose. We have never in our lives seen so many people so densely congregated in one place and it created an excited festival atmosphere and created a warmth that was quite surprising in the chilled winter’s night air. People everywhere were chanting, praying, reading their bibles and even just sleeping in this holiest of environments.

Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (177)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (178)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (179)Rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia - travel photographers South Africa (180)

Of all the places we have visited in our travels and of all the places we intend  still to go to, Ethiopia, and Lalibela in particular will defintely be the place we have to return to one day. One trip was simply not enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Andy & Szerdi on Instagram

  • Last minute lippy touch up before she’s off to get her marrying on 💃🏽
  • Ed’s face here as he waits for Amanda to come down the aisle is just everything! .
.
.
.
.
.
#cleanshoesnormalhair  #atthealter  #risingtidesociety #intimatestorytellers #loveauthentic #loveintentionally #momentsmatter  #brisbaneweddingphotographer  #deepintimatemoments #documentaryweddingphtographer #dvlopfilm  #radlovestories
  • Yesterday on our run I came across a wet, dirty little bunny. I thought there would be no way I would be able to catch him, but he hopped up to me and I scooped him up and carried him home. He seems to be settling in okay, now just to see if our two grumpy old man buns will accept a newbie, otherwise we are going to have to find this little charmer a home. (There is more bunny than is visible here...)
  • This babelicious golden light makes my heart skip a beat, Lisa and Gareth are kind of alright too...
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#capetownweddingphotographer  #thatgoldenlight  #capetownengagement #intimatestorytellers #loveauthentic #bluehairdontcare  #caperowndestinationweddingphotographer  #dvlop  #antibridetribe #indiebride #dvlopfilm #alternativeweddingphotographer #adventurebrides
  • Matri and Nick rock/paper/scissored who would do their vows first. Just one of many ways they made their day completely theirs. Their intimate city wedding is up on our blog now x
  • Fell in love with this feeling. We had just finished up some pics with Dee and her girls(and bridesman) pre ceremony and she was about to walk out to where her dad was waiting to take her to Emile. It was just a fleeting moment as she walked out of the house, but her face here just absolutely captivated me with all the happiness, contentment, nerves, and excitement it held.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#cleanshoesnormalhair  #realweddingmoments #intimatestorytellers #loveauthentic #loveintentionally #momentsmatter  #destinationweddingphotographer  #dvlop #deepintimatemoments #documentaryweddingphtographer #netherwoodweddings #indiebride #dvlopfilm #alternativeweddingphotographer #theblondesbond #adventurebrides #radlovestories
  • So this is us...Partners in life, adventures and all things.

We met at a music festival, fell in love over our common passion for developing our own photos and many long and late night deep conversations about the world, life and pretty much everything in between.

Somehow that was 13 years ago, and those two arty alternative kids are married, have bunnies, a crazy two colour eyed cat called Bowie, a book collection too large to fit comfortably in our house and have somehow managed to piece together our love of photography and traveling the world together into our business of getting to document the love stories of awesome humans. And this is how we get to make our living? It’s so awesome it feels like cheating.

We love the shit out of weddings and getting the chance to share these amazing adventures with people. We get that letting people in to share something as intimate and personal as a marriage is a really big deal, and it’s something that never stops making us really stoked that people trust us enough to make their memories.
Pic by our photography besties @kikitography
  • We do love a good reception razzle 💃🏽🍻
  • This love is fire 🔥
  • I remember so clearly from our own wedding the shock of how the ceremony was a such a blur as I was so swept up in all the emotion, looking at our photos helps take me back to that moment and those feelings. With any luck, this moment will be the same for Dee and Emile. Also, honestly, all you should want from your wedding is your person looking at you like this 😍
  • Next installment in our series of “small people big landscape”. What you can’t see: the mozzies, the very dodgy floating pier I was standing on to get this shot, the buzz of all of Christen and Peter’s guests getting ushered into the reception area while we stole one more post sunset shot of them.
  • I do love a good mama- daughter moment. Tanielle and Jamie’s wedding was jam packed full of family moments, which to us is just the best thing ever! Their wedding is up on our blog today xx

We Choose Adventure on Instagram

  • We’re a hazard when we’re walking the streets cus we’re always looking up and bumping into people. Obsessed with the beautiful Dutch architecture!
  • If you really want to blow your mind in Amsterdam, try walking round an art gallery after visiting a “coffeeshop”. 🤯
  • Yesterday it was sunny, but the overcast sky and light drizzle suit this place way more. #wechooseadventure_scotland #wechooseadventure
  • Exploring Edinburgh at night. In this place, if it’s not raining, it’s about to rain. #wechooseadventure #wechooseadventure_scotland
  • Made a special mission to see these guys in Glasgow last night. Absolutely epic! @coheed
  • This whole place is like wet and mossy fairytale.
  • Happy face in the icy wind and rain. Perfect weather for a Scottish adventure 😊
  • Glencoe 😍 This is a view we’ve been dying to see forever!
  • No offense to Brisbanians, but I’m surprised at what a beautiful and interesting city you have.
  • Kangaroos are like dog rabbits
  • We had the whole place to ourselves. Just us and Mona. Quality quiet time together.
  • Nike of Samothrace. #justdoit

These are some of the awesome blogs we've been featured on


Website designed by us and custom built by Andy. Check out his website company Andy Stent - Wordpress Website Development for more info.