While the world is waiting to celebrate its New Year in a few months’ time Ethiopia already celebrated its New Year on September 11th. New Year holiday in Ethiopia is always celebrated on 11th September and 12th September on a leap year. In Ethiopia’s official language, the Amharic, the New Year holiday is known as Enkutatash and it marks 1 Meskerem, meaning the first day in the Ethiopian calendar.
Enkutatash refers to the gift of jewels. It describes a period when Queen of Sheba returned from visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem in 980 BC. Upon her arrival to the village the chiefs welcomed her by filling her treasury with jewels.
The celebrations for the New Year last for a week and are focused on family events. During the New Year’s Eve which marks the beginning of the holiday each household lights wooden torches to symbolize the coming of the new season of sunshine.
Why Ethiopia Celebrates New Year in September 11th
While the rest of the world uses the Gregorian calendar Ethiopia uses the Coptic calendar. This calendar is factored in the calculation of the Annunciation i.e. Jesus conception as described by Egyptian monk historian Annianus of Alexandria.
According to the Julian calendar Ethiopia is currently seven years behind the rest of the world. It’s 2014 in this beautiful country when the rest of the universe is looking forward to 2022. The Gregorian calendar, used by the rest of the world, is factored in the calculation of the year in which Jesus was born.
In the Ethiopian calendar a year consists of 12 months of 30 days and a thirteenth month of five or six days. The thirteenth month in the calendar denotes the days forgotten when a year is calculated. It has five or six days in a leap year.
2014 New Year celebrations in Ethiopia
On Saturday September 11th Ethiopians welcomed the New Year, 2014. This comes at a time when the country is experiencing heightened tension in the Tigray region. The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has also had a huge toll on the country’s economy. The people’s wish in this new year is to see an improved economy and peaceful country.
In his New Year’s message the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assured the citizens that the New Year will mark better conditions with an end to the ongoing conflict.