New Year’s Day in Etiopia
The Ethiopian calendar (Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ዘመን አቆጣጠር?; yä’Ityoṗṗya zämän aḳoṭaṭär) is the principal calendar used in Ethiopia and also serves as the liturgical year for Christians in Eritrea and Ethiopia belonging to the Orthodox Tewahedo Churches, Eastern Catholic Churches and Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. It is a solar calendar which in turn derives from the Egyptian Calendar, but like the Julian Calendar, it adds a leap day every four years without exception, and begins the year on August 29th or August 30th in the Julian Calendar. A gap of 7–8 years between the Ethiopian and Gregorian Calendars results from an alternate calculation in determining the date of the Annunciation.
Like the Coptic calendar, the Ethiopic calendar has 12 months of 30 days plus 5 or 6 epagomenal days, which comprise a thirteenth month. The Ethiopian months begin on the same days as those of the Coptic calendar, but their names are in Ge’ez. The 6th epagomenal day is added every 4 years, without exception, on August 29 of the Julian calendar, 6 months before the corresponding Julian leap day. Thus the first day of the Ethiopian year, 1 Mäskäräm, for years between 1900 and 2099 (inclusive), is usually September 11 (Gregorian). It, however, falls on September 12 in years before the Gregorian leap year.
Enkutatash is the word for the Ethiopian New Year in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, while it is called Ri’se Awde Amet (“Head Anniversary”) in Ge’ez, the term preferred by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. It occurs on September 11th in the Gregorian Calendar; except for the year following a leap year, when it occurs on September 12th. The Ethiopian Calendar Year 1998 Amätä Məhrät (“Year of Mercy”) began on the Gregorian Calendar Year on September 11th, 2005. However, the Ethiopian Years 1992 and 1996 began on the Gregorian Dates of ‘September 12th 1999’ and ‘2003’ respectively.
This date correspondence applies for the Gregorian years 1900 to 2099. The Ethiopian leap year is every four without exception, while Gregorian centurial years are only leap years when exactly divisible by 400; thus a set of corresponding dates will most often apply for a single century. As the Gregorian year 2000 is a leap year, the current correspondence lasts two centuries instead.
Leap year cycle
The 4 year leap-year cycle is associated with the four Evangelists: the first year after an Ethiopian leap year is named the John-year, followed by the Matthew-year, and then the Mark-year. The year with the 6th epagomenal day is traditionally designated as the Luke-year.
There are no exceptions to the 4 year leap-year cycle, like the Julian calendar but unlike the Gregorian calendar.
|Ge’ez, Amharic, and Tigrinya
(with Amharic suffixes in parentheses)
[From March 1900 to February 2100]
|Gregorian Start Date
in Year after Ethiopian Leap Day
|Mäskäräm (መስከረም)||Tut (Thout)||August 29||September 11||September 12|
|Ṭəqəmt(i) (ጥቅምት)||Babah (Paopi)||September 28||October 11||October 12|
|Ḫədar (ኅዳር)||Hatur (Hathor)||October 28||November 10||November 11|
|Taḫśaś ( ታኅሣሥ)||Kiyahk (Koiak)||November 27||December 10||December 11|
|Ṭərr(i) (ጥር)||Tubah (Tobi)||December 27||January 9||January 10|
|Yäkatit (Tn. Läkatit) (የካቲት)||Amshir (Meshir)||January 26||February 8||February 9|
|Mägabit (መጋቢት)||Baramhat (Paremhat)||February 25||March 10||March 10|
|Miyazya (ሚያዝያ)||Baramundah (Parmouti)||March 27||April 9||April 9|
|Gənbo (t) (ግንቦት)||Bashans (Pashons)||April 26||May 9||May 9|
|Säne (ሰኔ)||Ba’unah (Paoni)||May 26||June 8||June 8|
|Ḥamle (ሐምሌ)||Abib (Epip)||June 25||July 8||July 8|
|Nähase (ነሐሴ)||Misra (Mesori)||July 25||August 7||August 7|
|Ṗagʷəmen/Ṗagume (ጳጐሜን/ጳጉሜ)||Nasi (Pi Kogi Enavot)||August 24||September 6||September 6|