While we know that a calendar is used to keep track of the days. The concept behind its creation is quite remarkable. In order to keep track of the day, time periods, usually days, weeks, months, and years are given names. A date is the designation of a single, specific day in such a system. But did you know that Ethiopians follow a different calendar that is 7 to 8 years behind the calendar we use?
Ethiopia has a unique calendar that is 7-8 years behind the rest of the world using the Gregorian Calendar. The current year in Ethiopia is still 2014.
New Years’ Eve in September 2020
While the rest of the world is on September 11, 2020, Ethiopians have just entered the year 2013 as they celebrate their New Year. Due to the country’s unique calendar, which is seven to eight years behind the rest of the world. There are large New Year’s celebrations are held across the country.
During their New Year’s Eve celebration Thursday evening, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed hope for a better year for Ethiopians. This year’s festivities occur during a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed nearly 1,000 lives. (Source: Face 2 Face Africa)
Why Does Ethiopia’s Calendar Lag Behind the Rest of the World?
The Horn of Africa nation uses a calendar similar to the ancient Julian calendar, which began to fade away in the Western world in the 16th century. The world as a whole has adopted the Gregorian calendar, which has 365 days in a year and 366 days in a leap year.
On the other hand, Ethiopia follows the Coptic Calendar, which puts it years behind the rest of the world. The difference in year numbering is due to a disagreement between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church about when Christ was born.
In contrast to the Gregorian calendar, which calculates the year Jesus was born, the Ethiopian Church adopted a calendar based on the Annunciation, which is Jesus’ conception, not birth, calculated by Egyptian monk-historian Annianus of Alexandria. (Source: Face 2 Face Africa)
Calculating the Difference Between the Two Calendars
A year in the Ethiopian calendar is 13 months long, with 12 months of 30 days each. The last month has five days in a typical year and six days during a leap year.
A leap year occurs every four years in the Ethiopian calendar, just like the Julian calendar. While most Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25, Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7, and many Orthodox Christian churches worldwide. In contrast to the Gregorian calendar, which calculates the year Jesus was born, the Ethiopian Church adopted a calendar based on the Annunciation calculated by Egyptian monk-historian Annianus of Alexandria.
Because of the adaptation of the Coptic Calendar, the country of Ethiopia celebrates New Year on September 11th! This is because the Ethiopian Calendar, as stated above, follows the Coptic Calendar which was fixed to the Julian Calendar in 25 BC by Emperor Augustus of Rome with a start date of 29 August, thus establishing the New Year on this day. Here, September 11th is in accordance with the Gregorian Calendar; in other words, it is September 11th for the world except Ethiopia, where it is August 29, the New year.
- Mildred Europa Taylor
(Source: Face 2 Face Africa)