Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year) Date in the current year: September 11, 2016

Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year) On the first day of the month of Mäskäräm, Ethiopians and Eritreans celebrate the beginning of the new year. Ethiopian new year is called Enkutatash in the Amharic language spoken in Ethiopia. It falls on September 11 (or September 12 during leap years) in the Gregorian calendar.

The Ethiopian calendar is based on the Coptic calendar. It has twelve months plus five epagomenal days. Every four years, there is an additional epagomenal day, just like in the Julian calendar. Such years are called leap years. During these years, Enkutatash is celebrated a day later that usual in the Gregorian calendar.

The word “Enkutatash” can be translated literally as “gift of jewels”. It is the reference to the jewels which the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon during her visit. When she returned to her land, her chiefs gifted her with jewels to replenish her treasury.

Enkutatash is a public holiday in Ethiopia and Eritrea, which was part of Ethiopia until 1991 de facto and 1993 de jure. Its celebration is both secular and religious. In the morning, people attend church services, and then return home to have a family meal.

Enkutatash marks the end of the rainy season and beginning of spring, so children celebrate it with gathering flowers and giving them to their family and neighbors in exchange for small gifts.

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Eritrea, Ethiopia


Enkutatash, Ethiopian New Year, holidays in Ethiopia, holidays in Eritrea, public holidays