Ethiopian Treasures


The Ethiopian calendar is much more similar to the Egyptian Coptic calendar having a year of 13 months, 365 days and 366 days in a leap year (every fourth year) and it is much influenced by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which follows its ancient calendar rules and beliefs. The Ethiopian calendar is always seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian (Western) and Eastern Orthodox Church calendars during September and December and eight years and four months behind during January and August. Therefore, the Ethiopians will celebrate the new millennium on September 1, 2000 Ethiopian calendar (September 12, 2007 Gregorian calendar).

Pope Gregory XIII reformed the Julian calendar due to the fact that Easter was drifting away from its springtime origins and so lost its relation with the Jewish Passover. Since 1582, the Gregorian (Western) calendar has become the religious, cultural and civil calendar for most of the world. Because of the ideological differences, the Eastern Orthodox Churches and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church did not accept the Gregorian calendar and continued to use the Julian calendar with lunar tables for calculating Easter, together with other religious and cultural holidays.

The date of Christmas in the Ethiopian calendar always falls on December 29, but this date is January 7 in the Gregorian calendar i.e. 13 days after the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches have celebrated their Christmas. However, the date of Easter in the Eastern, Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Churches' calendars falls 7 days after the Jewish Passover which date determines the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches' Easter.

Although the Julian, Gregorian, Coptic and Ethiopian calendars have the same number of days in a year, (365 days and 366 days in a leap year), the counting systems giving the number of days in each month, and number of months in a year, of the Julian and Gregorian calendars differ from the Ethiopian and Egyptian Coptic calendars. The Ethiopian and Coptic calendars consist of 13 months where the first 12 months have 30 days each, and the Last (thirteenth) month has 5 days (6 days in a leap year). The Gregorian calendar consists of 12 months with January, March, May, July, August, October and December having 31 days, April, June, September and November, 30 days and February having 28 days (29 days in a leap year).

The Ethiopian New Year falls on September 11 (September 12 in the leap year) in the Gregorian calendar but it is September 1 in the Ethiopian calendar. In Ethiopia the first month of the year is September and the last (thirteenth) month of the year is Pagumiene, which comes after August. Each month has 30 days (from September to August) and the thirteenth month, Pagumiene, has 5 days (6 days in a leap year). For more information, visit

Ethiopian time is 3 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and is equally divided into day and night, each consisting of 12 hours from sunrise to sunset and vice-versa.

Ethiopian Month Gregorian Month Gregorian Equivalent Dates
Meskerem (month 1) September (month 9) September 11 - October 10 (begins September 12, during leap years)
Tikimt (month 2) October (month 10) October 11 - November 9
Hidar (month 3) November (month 11) November 10 - December 9
Tahsas (month 4) December (month 12) December 10 - January 8
Tir (month 5) January (month 1) January 9 - February 7
Yakatit (month 6) Febuary (month 2) February 8 - March 9
Magabit (month 7) March (month 3) March 10 - April 8
Miyazya (month 8) April (month 4) April 9 - May 8
Ginbot (month 9) May (month 5) May 9 - June 7
Sene (month 10) June (month 6) June 8 - July 7
Hamle (month 11) July (month 7) July 8 - August 6
Nehasa (month 12) August (month 8) August 7 - September 5
Pagumiene (month 13) September 6 - September 10 (ends September 11, during leap years)

Christian Holidays Ethiopian Calendar Gregorian Calendar
Enkutatash (New Year) September 1 September 11 (September 12 in the leap year)
Meskel (Finding of the True Cross) September 17 September 27
Debra Damo (Feast of Saint Aregawi) October 14 October 24
Aksum Mariam Tsion (Feast of Saint Marry of Zion) November 21 November 30
Kulibi (Feast of Saint Gabriel) December 19 December 28
Ledet (Christmas) December 29 January 7
Timket (Epiphany) January 11 January 19
Good Friday March/April March/April
Fasika (Easter) March/April March/April

Jewish Holidays Jewish Calendar Ethiopian/Gregorian Calendar
Rosh Hashana Month 1 (Tishri) September/October
Yom Kippur Month 1 (Tishri) September/October
Sukkot Month 1 (Tishri) September/October
Simkhat Torah Month 1 (Tishri) September/October
Hanukah Month 3 (Kislev) November/December
Tu B'Shevat Month 5 (Shevat) January/February
Purim Month 6 (Adar) February/March
Pesach (Passover) Month 7 (Nisan) March/April
Shavuot Month 9 (Sivan) May/June

Islamic Holidays Islamic Calendar
Muharram (New Year) Month 1 (Muharrram)
Milad-an-Nabi (birthday of Mohammed) Month 3 (Rabi' al-Awwal)
Lailt-ul-Isra (the night of ascension) Month 7 (Rajab)
Lailat-Ul-Bara'ah (the night of forgiveness) Month 8 (Sha'ban)
Ramadan (month of fasting) Month 9 (Ramadan)
Eid-ul-Fitr (end of Ramadan) Month 10 (Shawwal)
The Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and
Eid-ul-Adha (end of the Hajj pilgrimage)
Month 12 (Dhu al-Hijjah)

Public Holidays Ethiopian Calendar Gregorian calendar
Victory of Adwa February 23 March 2
Patriots Victory Day March 28 April 6
Labour Day April 23 May 1
Downfall of the Dergue May 20 May 28


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