Pin It
Friday, September 7th, 2012

Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year): September 11

Ethiopian-New-Year/ © Joel Carillet-istockphoto

Enkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year, marks the end of the rainy reason and the beginning of the spring sunshine. While Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, the holiday falls on September 11th according to the Western or Gregorian calendar, except for leap years, when it occurs on September 12th.

Enkutatash, meaning “gift of jewels” in Amharic, originally derives from the story of the Queen of Sheba returning from visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem, according to popular legend. When the Queen arrived, she was greeted by her Ethiopian chiefs with enku, jewels. This joyful holiday has supposedly been celebrated since this time, marked by dancing and singing across the green countryside, budding with spring flowers.

Enkutatash is a very festive occasion. After attending church in the morning, families gather to share a traditional meal of injera (flat bread) and wat (stew). Later in the day, young girls donning new clothes, gather daisies and present friends with a bouquet, singing New Year’s songs. They often receive a small gift in return, usually either money or bread. Young boys paint pictures of saints to give away and also receive a small token in return. The day of festivities winds down with families visiting friends and sharing a drink of tella, Ethiopian beer, while children go out and spend their newly received riches.

Need a recipe for the New Year? We’ve got your back!

Make our doro wat.

How about a craft for kids?

Try our geometric stamps.

© 2012, The Editors. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:

Arranged Marriage 101

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law

A whole year of arguing in the making

Overheard on the Beijing Subway When People Don't Think I Speak Mandarin

The awesome stuff I overhear like what these two Chinese women think of foreigners.


InCultureParent is an online magazine for parent's raising little global citizens. Centered on global parenting culture and traditions, we feature articles on parenting around the world and on raising multicultural and multilingual children.

Leave us a comment!

  1. CommentsMelkam Addis Amet! « Ethiopian Canadian Kids   |  Sunday, 11 September 2011 at 9:34 pm

    […] Here’s a neat little video showing an Enkutatash tradition. […]

  2. CommentsThe Link: Ring in the New Year « ipl2 – news and information   |  Monday, 16 January 2012 at 6:42 am

    […] Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year): September 11 Enkutatash, or “gift of jewels,” marks the traditional Ethiopian New Year. Find out some […]

  3. CommentsInCultureParent | Enkutatash Recipe: Dabo Kolo   |  Monday, 10 September 2012 at 9:13 pm

    […] comments Looking for a fun way to celebrate Ethiopian New Year with your family?  These snacks are great for lunchboxes, after school snacks or appetizer nibbles […]

  4. CommentsHappy Ethiopian New Year! - Voice Ethiopia - Shaping Brighter Futures.   |  Wednesday, 10 September 2014 at 2:55 pm

    […] to InCultureParent, Enkutatash, meaning “gift of jewels” in Amharic, originally derives from the story of the […]

Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.

Why We Need to Read Multicultural Children's Books

Children need to see the world around them reflected in books.
Hi Chelsea, I did a Dip Ed at the University of Papua New Guinea and taught school in Papua New Guinea in 1970s. I was shocked how few children went to primary school and even less students to sec...
From Bilum Craft: Learning about Papua New Guinea
[…] InCulture Parent, an online magazine about global parenting, has posted an excerpt from Dina’s book and has also featured it in their New This Month category. Additionally, Adoptio...
From Finding Aster
This article is great and gives me hope that I can somehow get my marriage back on track after almost four years of living with my MIL. My mother in law is great and if I didn't have to live with he...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
I'm half French, half Italian, raised in Australia - my husband, has Scottish and Maori bloodlines and was raised in Canada - We find that we tend to default to the Italian and Maori parenting style...
From French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family
I guess this is a common problem. I am American. She is from Europe. We had our (first) kid 11 months ago (I've been happier than I ever imagined at being a father. Let's see, what could ruin tha...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
[…] Dunque ecco 10 valide proposte su come “uscire dal tracciato” e perché dovrebbero esserci più libri che puntano sulla  multiculturalità. […...
From Ten Reasons Parents Should Read Multicultural Books to Kids
look full european to ...
From Amazing Portraits of Biracial Kids
I remember the days and years of being orlewhvemed and feeling that I wasnt doing enough! After 20 years of homeschooling now, it is good to be reminded that parents often feel this way! We are so b...
From Awesome Summer Activity: Explorer Journal
These books are fantastic! You will love reindag them yourself or with your little ones. The stories, illustrations, and Armenian isms fit together perfectly. An enjoyable and creative way to keep ...
From Eco-Friendly Children’s Books for Earth Day

More Global Celebrations