In a world synchronized mostly by the Gregorian calendar, Ethiopia stands unique with its own timekeeping – the Ge’ez calendar. As the world marks 2023, Ethiopia rings in the year 2016. But why the 7-year difference?
Origin in the Ge’ez Calendar
The Ge’ez calendar, also known as the Ethiopian calendar, has its roots in ancient Egypt. The calendar is closely related to the Coptic calendar, with both being derivatives of the ancient Egyptian calendar.
The difference in years is mainly attributed to different interpretations of Biblical events. Most notably, it relates to the years counted since the Annunciation of the birth of Jesus. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church believes that the Annunciation took place in 7 BC, 5,500 years after the Biblical account of the world’s creation. The Gregorian calendar, followed by much of the world, places the Annunciation 8 years later.
13 Months of Sunshine
Another unique feature of the Ethiopian calendar is its structure. It consists of 13 months – 12 of 30 days each, and an additional month, Pagumē, which has 5 or 6 days depending on the year. This makes the popular phrase “Thirteen months of sunshine” a literal description of the Ethiopian year.
The Ethiopian New Year, known as Enkutatash, is celebrated on Meskerem 1, which typically falls on September 11 (or 12 in a leap year) in the Gregorian calendar. It is a time of joy, family reunions, and a reflection of the old while welcoming the new.
Ethiopia’s rich traditions and unique calendar are a testament to its vibrant history and culture. As we embrace and celebrate the diversity of our global community, it’s fascinating insights like these that remind us of the intricate tapestry of human civilization.
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