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Ethiopian New Year!

Happy Ethiopian New Year እንቁጣጣሽ - መልካም አዲስ አመት።

Ethiopia is celebrating the coming of 2008. New Year in Ethiopia is Called ‘Enkutatash’(እንቁጣጣሽ) and celebrated on ‘Meskerem 1st’ (መስከረም ፩) in the Ethiopian Calendar or September 11th of the Gregorian calendar. Ethiopia has a different calendar which goes back to thousands of years based on the older Alexandrian or Coptic calendar. In 1582 when the rest of the Christian world adopted the Gregorian (European) calendar, Ethiopia stayed with the ancient Julian calendar. This calendar is still the official calendar in Ethiopia. The calendar basically has 13 months, each month having 30 days and the remaining 5 or 6 days are considered as a month and called Pagumen. The New Year is traditionally the end of the season of heavy rains when the sun appears again to create a clear, fresh environment with a rainbow of new hope. ‘Enkutatash’, which means “the gift of jewels”, has been celebrated since the time of the Queen of Sheba. Folklore records that, upon her return from visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem, courtiers welcomed the Queen by replenishing her treasury with “enku” or jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since these early times and when the rainy season ends, dancing and singing can be heard throughout the villages in the green countryside. In modern times, ‘Enkutatash’ is marked by all religious observances, eating special foods, singing and family gatherings. Girls go from house to house singing New Year songs and the boys present pictures that they have drawn. Meanwhile, the adults discuss their hopes for the coming year. This date is also a reminder of Ethiopians distinct culture and civilization which has been preserved for centuries - a significant achievement bearing evidence that Ethiopia is one of the oldest civilizations. To all friends and family members, wishing you a Happy New Year with the hope that you will have many blessings in the year to come. New beginnings, fresh starts, reaffirmations of love and hope for a brighter future all come to mind as we ring in a New Year. May God bless Ethiopia!!