The beginning of a new year marks the immense happiness and joy of celebrating a full year and a time to thank the lord for a year well lived.
A new year is normally marked by people having different resolutions and better plans for the next year. Today the 12th of September, Ethiopia and Eritrea are celebrating their new year.
What comes as a surprise to the world is the fact that they are seven years behind the normal calendar. today they are in the year 2016 while the rest of the world is in 2023.
The new year in Ethiopia and Eritrea is called Enkutatash which means the gift of jewels. The name of the festival dates back to Queen Sheba's return to Ethiopia after visiting King Solomon where she returned to Ethiopia with many jewels.
The festival is marked by songs, dance, gifting, special meals, music, family gatherings and even unique traditions.
Children play the biggest role in the celebrations since they move from door to door giving paintings and singing in exchange for money and gifts.
Enkutatash is celebrated to mark the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the new year. It normally takes place either on the 11th or the 12th of September every year depending on whether it is a leap year or not.
The main reason Ethiopia and Eritrea are seven years and eight months behind everyone else's calendar is that it takes their inspiration from Adam and Eve and they believe that God let them stay in the garden of Eden after 7 years they were expelled for their sins.
During the festival bright yellow flowers blanket called Adey Abeba or Maskel daisies decorate the landscape, symbolizing a new cycle of life and prosperity.
Key facts about Ethiopia that make it different from every other country.
1)They follow the Julian Calender system which is 7 years and 8 months behind.
2)The New Year lands on either the 11th or the 12th of September.
3) Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January.
4) It has 13 months, the 13th is called Pagume month comprises all the forgotten days in the year and is normally 5 or 6 days.
5) Adey Abeba is used to symbolize a new cycle of life and prosperity.
6)They have 3 seasons namely Bega, Belg and Kiremt.
7) They have a different clock, 1 o'clock is sunrise and 12 o'clock is sunset.
8) It was never colonized by any European power.