Henze (1974;38) pointed out that, “To observe Ethiopian life without some knowledge of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is like trying to follow a conversation without  knowledge of the language being spoken”.

There are two kinds of Calendars: Solar and Lunar Calendars. Ethiopian calendar is calculated on the bases of the solar movement and is one of the solar calendars.

The Ethiopian Calendar starts its dating with the creation of the World in Gensis 1:1. It is formulated based on the beliefs that Christ was born 5500 years after the creation of the world. According to the Ethiopian Orthodox church, the period from the creation of the world to the birth of Christ is known as Amete Fidda or Amete Kunenine (Years of the Law of Consciousness + Year of the Old Testament). Amete Fidda plus 2000 years after the birth of Christ (Year of Mercy) equals 7500 years (Years of the world). Church fathers calculate this with the duration of the three laws of God: Law of Consciousness, the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The Ethiopian Calendar celebrates New Year on Meskerem 1; September 11/12 to venerate a number of biblical events. One is the receding of the great storm during the time of Noah. The bible says “…. First year in the first day of the month, the water were dried up ….” (Genesis 8:13).

The Ethiopian New Year also honors the transition from heavy rainy season to the bright one.

According to the Ethiopian Orthodox church the Ethiopian New Year is symbolize the transition from The Old Testament to The New Testament.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church still refers to the four-year cycle whereby each year is named after one of the four evangelists in the traditional order: Matewos (Matthew), Marqos (Mark), Luqas (Luke) and Yohannes (John).

Each Ethiopian year is divided into 4 season and 13 Months (12 months consisting of 30 days and the 13th Month, Pagumen) comprising five days or 6 on the leap year. Each year has 365 days, or 366 days once in 4 years. Each Ethiopian week is divided into seven days, corresponding to seven days of creation, observing the Sabbath on the seventh day.

The Ethiopian Calendar divides each 24-hour period into 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. The day begins at dawn and the night at dusk. Ethiopian mid-day and mid-night fall at the Western 12am and 12 Pm respectively. The Ethiopian Orthodox church associates the Ethiopian hour counting system with the Holy Bible as it corresponds with the time reference in the Bible. At the Book of Enoch 23:16-26 and in the New Testament with the time tables in reference to the sequences of the events while Christ was flagellated and crucified and the Resurrection.

The discrepancy between the Ethiopian calendar and the Gregorian Calendar varies 6 days in August to 10/11 days in September and 8 years from September to December and 7 Years from January to August. There are a number of speculation about the discrepancy, different countries used to trace back the creation of the world and the birth of Christ. One of these reference is the date of the fall of Jerusalem. While the Gregorian calendar believes that the event occurred 77 years after the birth of Christ, the Ethiopian calendar presumes as it had happened in 70AD.

Ethiopian will celebrate the New Year 2009 on Sunday 11, September 2016.


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