Saturday, September 11, 2010

Enkutatash - The Ethiopian New Year

Today, September 11th, is the Ethiopian New Year! Ethiopia still follows the Orthodox Julian calendar which consists of 12 months of 30 days and a 13th month. Enkutatash is an important festival in the lives of Ethiopians. After a heavy rain season consisting of three months, the sun comes out announcing that spring has arrived. The highland fields turn to gold as the Meskal daisies burst into flower.

Melkam Addis Amet or Happy New Year!

September 11th is both New Year's Day and the Feast of St. John the Baptist. The word "Enkutatash" means the "gift of jewels" and refers to the gifts Queen of Sheba received, "enku" or jewels, when she returned from her visit to see King Solomon in Jerusalem. Enkutatash is not exclusively a religious holiday. The spring festival has been celebrated since these early times and when the rainy season ends, dancing and singing can be heard throughout the villages in the green countryside.  After dark on New Year's Eve people light fires outside their houses. The main religious celebration takes place within the Gondar Region and includes three days of prayers, psalms, and hymns, sermons, and large colorful processions mark the celebration of the New Year.

1 comment:

  1. Being a New Year Day's celebration as well as a feast day for St John the Baptist, it will need to be circled on the family calendar. If any family knows how to celebrate and feast it is the DeTorres family! To celebrate life in the company of loving family and friends is a must for all of us. When Baby DeTorres is a resident member she can celebrate this day always surrounded by those who love her. I wait impatiently for the day to hold her and smile and say, "Today, we celebrate you!"