24 Dec Enkutatash Ethiopian New Year
Enkutatash is the word for the Ethiopian new year in the official language of Ethiopia: Amharic. It represents the first day of the New Year in Ethiopia. It occurs on Meskerem 1 on the Ethiopian calendar, which is September 11 (or, during a leap year, September 12) according to the Gregorian calendar. Literally, Enkutatash means ‘Gift of Jewels’. The date traditionally marks the end of the season of heavy rains and is more recently or historically set by the return of the Queen of Sheba to Ethiopia after her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem. The capital is alive with citywide concerts, fireworks, everyone dressed in traditional clothes, and attending parties with generous amounts of food. Children create homemade “happy new year” cards with drawing of flowers and deliver these gifts to neighbors. Yellow daisies known as “Adey Ababa” are used to decorate homes, coffee ceremonies, restaurants, and hotels.