Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy New Year!!

In Ethiopia that is!

September 11th is Ethiopia's New Year, the new year is 2001 (Enkutatash.)Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 days and 6 days inleap year. The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September11 and January 8.

The Amharic word for New Year's Day is "Enkutatash" which means the gift of jewels. History tells us, when the Queen of Sheba returned from her jaunt to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her by replenishing her treasury with "inku" or jewels.

The Enkutatash spring festival has been celebrated since the Queen's historic return. As the rainy season comes to its abrupt end, dancing and singing can beheard at every village in the verdent green countryside. Meskerem (the first month of the year) is seen as a month of transition from the old year to the new. Like many Ethiopian holidays, Enkutatash is not exclusively a religious holiday. Modern Enkutatash is also the season for exchanging formal new year greetings and cards among the urban sophisticated - in lieu of the traditional bouquet of flowers (which is now seen as a more rural custom.) It is a time to express hopes and dreams for the future.


Anonymous said...

We are so happy that you have decided to continue. That's great. We look forward to the day when you come back as a new family!!

Anonymous said...

Always great to learn about holidays celebrated in other countries! Thanks for the information!