መልካም አዲስ አመት (Melkam Addis Amet) or Happy New Year 2006!
Happy New Year to all Ethiopians out there and those who have brought Ethiopia into your hearts and homes. Ethiopia is one of those countries whose culture continues to astound me. I love learning more about the background of the calendar in Ethiopia. Here is a quick synopsis of Ethiopian New Year’s Day.
From the Habesha Blog: http://imhabesha.blogspot.com/search/label/Enkutatash
Enkutatash! Ethiopian New Year
The Ethiopian New Year falls in September at the end of the big rains. The sun comes out to shine all day long creating an atmosphere of dazzling clarity and fresh clean air. The highlands turn to gold as the Meskal daisies burst out in all their splendor. Ethiopian children — clad in brand-new clothes — dance through the villages giving bouquets of flowers and painted pictures to each household.
Eleventh September is both New Year’s Day and the Feast of St. John the Baptist. The day is called Enkutatash meaning the ‘gift of jewels’. When the famous Queen of Sheba returned from her expensive jaunt to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her back by replenishing her treasury with enku or jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since these early times and as the rains come to their abrupt end, dancing and singing can be heard at every village in green countryside. After dark on New Year’s Eve people light fires outside their houses.
The main religious celebration takes place at the 14th-century Kostete Yohannes church in the city of Gaynt within the Gondar region. Three days of prayers, psalms and hymns, sermons, and massive colourful processions mark the advent of the New Year. Closer to Acidis Ababa, the Raguel Church, on top of Entoto Mountain north of the city, has the largest and most spectacular religious celebration. But Enkutatash is not exclusively a religious holiday, and the little girls singing and dancing in pretty new dresses among the flowers in the fields convey the message of spring-time and renewed life. Today’s Enkutatash is also the reason for exchanging formal New Year greetings and cards among the urban sophisticated — in lieu of the traditional bouquet of flowers.
It is 2006 in Ethiopia. Wondering how the years are numbered in Ethiopia? Wikipedia explains it this way: The Ethiopian counting of years begins in the year 8 of the common era
. This is because the common era follows the calculations of Dionysius, a 6th-century monk, while the non-Chalcedonian countries continued to use the calculations of Annius, a 5th-century monk, which had placed the Annunciation of Christ exactly 8 years later. For this reason, on Enkutatash in the year 2013 of the Gregorian calendar, it became 2006 in the Ethiopian calendar.