Enkutatash — Ethiopian New Year (11/09)

Ethiopia is currently almost the only state in the world where it still uses the Julian calendar, not only in church, but also in secular life.

September 11 or September 12 ( depending on the year ) in Ethiopia celebrate the New Year ( Ethiopian New Year ) — Enkutatash ( Enkutatash ).

Translated from Ethiopian Enkutatash means « Jewelry Day ». According to legend, the date of the new year was approved by the Queen of Savskaya. After her return from King Solomon from Jerusalem, enthusiastic subjects met her with the offering of precious stones. The return of the queen was the beginning of a new era for Ethiopia, the emperors of which led their family from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

The largest New Year celebrations take place in the 14th century church — Bohlj Johannes ( St. John ) in the city of Gaint in Gondar. Within three days, a colorful procession prepares to celebrate the New Year, priests read psalms, sermons, prayers and hymns. Enkutatash is also widely celebrated near Addis Ababa, in the Church of Ragual on Mount Entoto.

According to tradition, they begin to celebrate the holiday the night before. Ethiopians raise bonfires from eucalyptus or spruce. The largest bonfire of trees about 6 meters long is being built on the main square of Addis Ababa, and the king ( the governor or President ) sets fire to this fire with a torch for applause and hooter of the crowd.

Fire — is a heat sign. Everyone looks at the flame with hope, rejoice and have fun. A powerful tree serves as a stronghold of the fire. Gathered in the square are watching where the charred peak of the tree falls. There is a belief that it will indicate the side where in the coming year there will be a large crop. People consider this a sign of God.

Early in the morning, people dressed in national clothes go to church. After the church, they go home to taste the ( white flat bread ) and the duck ( stew ) on a family meal.

But Enkutash is not only a religious holiday. It also marks the end of the season of heavy torrential rains and the arrival of spring. On this day, children dress up in colorful clothes, weave from the flowers of the wreath and distribute them. Girls go home and sing in anticipation of a cash reward, and boys sell paintings that they themselves painted.

In the evening they go to visit friends and relatives and drink bodies ( traditional Ethiopian beer ). While adults are busy discussing their hopes for next year, children go to spend their money. Recently, it has become commonplace for wealthy citizens to send greeting cards to each other, instead of the traditional bouquet of flowers.