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Enkutatash

Ethiopian New Year

Enkutatash means the "gift of jewels"

Ethiopia follows the 13th months a year which 30 days each and 5 days or 6 days in leap year. Ethiopian Calendar starts its dating with creation of the world in Genesis more similar like the Julian calendar. We Ethiopians use which is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September 11 and January 8.

September 11th/ 12th in the leap year 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 spree to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her back by replenishing her treasury with enku or jewels.

September falls at the end of the big rains (seasonal transition) where sun comes out to shine all day long creating an atmosphere of dazzling clarity and fresh clean air. River flows clean, the plains turns to yellowish wild daisies burst out in their entire splendor. The month symbolizes the coming of good wishes and festive. At the celebration Ethiopian children dressed in brand new clothes to dance through the villages giving bouquets of flowers and painted pictures to each household.

Kids celebrating New Year (Enkutatash).

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