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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.

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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 […]

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