Happy New Year!
Enkutatash – New Year in Ethiopia
In the 21th century Ethiopia remains one of a few countries in the world, where its own (not Gregorian) calendar in used. This calendar is “delayed” by about seven and a half years. New year, or Enkutatash, is celebrated on September 11. New Year marks the end of the rainy season and beginning of spring.
Enkutatash is translated from amharic language as Gift of Jewels. According to the legend, when queen Sheba returned from Jerusalem, after visiting king Solomon there, people of Axum met her by presenting a gift of precious stones. Return of Queen Sheba marks beginning of the new era in Ethiopian history. With the birth of prince Menelik I, new dynasty came to rule Ethiopia: dynasty of Solomon.
New year’s celebrations begin on the eve, September 10. People lit bonfires on the streets of big towns and small villages, sing and dance. In the morning, dressed in their best traditional clothes, families go to the church for the new year’s service. Returning home, they will share a feast with injera and dabo, and of course prepare a coffee ceremony. On this day girls go from house to house singing and dancing, while boys sell pictures, which they drew themselves.
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