Ethiopean New Year’s Day is the first day of the month of Meskerem, which corresponds to 11 September on the Gregorian Calendar. The holiday is named “Enkutatash”, meaning “a gift of jewels” because it is thought that the Queen of Sheba returned to Ethiopia on this day some 3,000 years ago with a gift of jewels from King Solomon of Israel.
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|2023||12 Sep||Tue||Ethiopian New Year|
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|2026||11 Sep||Fri||Ethiopian New Year|
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Why was September chosen as the beginning of the year in Ethiopia? First, because it is believed that this is the time of year when God created the world in seven days. Also, around the time of Ethiopian New Year, the amount of daylight and dark in a 24-hour day is exactly balanced. Finally, this is the time when the rainy, stormy months end and spring-like weather commences in Ethiopia.
One New Year tradition is for groups of girls to travel around singing and carrying yellow flowers. People often reward the singers with food or money. Boys may make paintings and other artwork and give it out door-to-door on New Year’s Day. At home, families start up large bonfires and dance around them on Ethiopian New Year’s Eve. A feast may take place with menu items such as chicken stew, injera flatbread, coffee, honey wine, tela beer, and popcorn.
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