Monday, September 6, 2010

Gift of Jewels

This Saturday, September 11th, is Ethiopian New Year.

From Wikipedia:

Enkutatash is the first day of the New Year in Ethiopia. It occurs on Meskerem 1 on the Ethiopian calendar, which is September 11 (or, during a leap year, September 12) according to the Gregorian calendar.

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 in leap year. The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September 11 andJanuary 8.

Enkutatash means 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 bolts by replenishing her treasury with inku or jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since this early times and as the rains come to their abrupt end, dancing and singing can be heard at every village in the green countryside.

The date traditionally marks the end of the season of heavy rains and is more recently or historically set by the return of the Queen of Sheba to Ethiopia after her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem.

Large celebrations are held around the country, notably at the Ragual Church on Entoto mountain. But Enkutatash is not exclusively a religious holiday. Today's Enkutatash is also the season for exchanging formal new year greetings and cards among the urban sophisticated - in lieu or the traditional bouquet of flowers.

In 2007 on the Gregorian calendar, it became 2000 on the Ethiopian calendar.


Ethiopia Kids has a great article about how the holiday is celebrated in Ethiopia.

2 comments:

Ebenezer Forest Farm said...

Thank you for the info.! I plan to post about this on the Ethiopian New Year.

~Shiloh
www.safelytoarriveathome.blogspot.com

meyerprints said...
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