Every thing to Know About Ethiopian New 12 months

The start of a brand new yr is a time the place individuals replicate on the previous and look ahead to what’s subsequent. Within the African nations of Ethiopia and Eritrea, the New 12 months’s celebration is known as Enkutatash.

“It’s a particularly inspiring, festive, heart-warming, and hopeful time of the yr in Ethiopia,” says Susie Geda, the proprietor of BIBO Salon. She was raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian New 12 months has a wealthy cultural historical past relationship again to the times of Queen Sheba. Actually, the vacation’s identify is derived from a narrative about Queen Sheba’s return to Ethiopia after a go to to King Solomon. At present, Enkutatash is well known by Ethiopians and Eritreans internationally with music, particular meals, household gatherings, and distinctive traditions. Youngsters play a particular function within the vacation, going door-to-door providing songs and work in alternate for cash or small items.

Though you may anticipate New 12 months’s celebrations to happen on the finish of December, Enkutatash truly takes place in September because of the nation’s Julian calendar system. We have all the main points on why Enkutatash occurs in September and what date individuals will likely be celebrating the vacation this yr.

Maintain studying to be taught all in regards to the Ethiopian New 12 months, from the that means of “Enkutatash” to how individuals have a good time it in the present day.

What’s Enkutatash?

“Enkutatash, which could be translated as ‘reward of jewels,’ marks the tip of the wet season and the start of a brand new yr based on the Ethiopian calendar,” says Geda. “As such, it’s a celebration of renewal and hope. Shiny yellow flowers blanket the panorama, symbolizing a brand new cycle of life and prosperity.”

The Maskel daisies, or Adey Abeba, are a logo of Ethiopian New 12 months.

Anadolu Company//Getty Pictures

Enkutatash is the Ethiopian New 12 months, however not like New 12 months’s celebrations in lots of different components of the world, it does not happen on December 31.

When is Enkutatash?

“The historical past of Ethiopian New 12 months is deeply rooted within the nation’s distinctive Julian calendar system, which is roughly seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian calendar,” explains Geda. “This distinction in time calculation explains why the Ethiopian New 12 months falls on September 11 or 12 within the Gregorian calendar.”

This yr, Enkutatash falls on September 12, 2023.

Historical past of Ethiopian New 12 months

“On today, Queen Sheba returned to Ethiopia from a visit the place she visited King Solomon they usually celebrated her return by gifting her jewels,” explains Kanessa Muluneh, Ethiopian refugee and founding father of MULU LOVE.

Within the Bible, Queen Sheba visits King Solomon to ask for his knowledge and brings along with her “camels carrying spices, giant portions of gold, and valuable stones.” Along with answering all of her questions, Solomon additionally gave Queen Sheba many invaluable items to take again to Ethiopia along with her.

Enkutatash Which means

Enkutatash interprets to “reward of jewels” in Amharic, which is the official language of Ethiopia. That is due to the historical past of the vacation, through which Queen Sheba was gifted jewels upon her return. It is also significant within the sense that it is a new begin to the yr, which is a time typically related to hope, gratitude, and constructive change.

How is Ethiopian New 12 months celebrated?

ethiopia new year enkutatash, image of young ethiopian people standing around a bonfire out of frame, smiling and whistling

Folks have a good time Ethiopian New 12 months with bonfires and music.


“Enkutatash is well known broadly all through the nation but in addition by Ethiopians and Eritreans outdoors of their nation, like myself and my youngsters,” says Muluneh. “From my expertise, the vacation goes along with plenty of music, alcohol, meals, and enjoyable, all in conventional put on.”

Geda explains that the place she grew up in Addis Ababa, the day began with a particular breakfast at dwelling, the place fresh-baked bread was a should. The entire household would put on new garments to represent the beginning that the brand new yr brings. Later, they’d go to her maternal kinfolk for a lunch of conventional Ethiopian meals and the “iconic Ethiopian espresso ceremony.” Later within the day, the festivities would proceed at her paternal kinfolk’ home. “It was a day of unity, enjoyment, and anticipation of the brand new beginnings that the New 12 months promised,” she says.

Different traditions can embrace ladies going from home to deal with singing a conventional track referred to as “Abebayehosh” and boys going home to deal with providing work. In alternate, the youngsters are provided cash as a gesture of gratitude. Youngsters may also put together a bouquet of flowers to present to their mother and father.

One other custom is for households and neighbors to mild bonfires as soon as it will get darkish. Folks sing and dance across the hearth and share good needs for the upcoming yr.