Ethiopia has its own calendar. It follows the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian one used by
Europe and the Americans. The New year is September 11 (Meskerem 1), and end of year is
September 10 or Pagume 5 (6 in leap year). All of the 12 months has equal 30 days and the 13 th
month of Pagume has 5 or 6 in leap year days, hence it has 13 months of sunshine. Ethiopia is
three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Time remains constant throughout the year. The
Ethiopian day is calculated in a manner similar to that in many equatorial countries, where day
and night are always the same length: counting starts at Western 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Western
7:00 a.m. is therefore one o'clock, noon is six, 6:00 p.m. is twelve o'clock, and so on.
Ethiopian calendar and time
Epiphany (Timket) - Timket, feast of Epiphany is the greatest festival of the year falling on the 19 January just two weeks after the Ethiopian Christmas. It is actually a three-day affair beginning on the eve of Timket with dramatic and colourful processions. The following morning the great day itself, Christ's baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist is commemorated. Since October and the end of the rains, the country has been drying up steadily. The sun blazes down from a clear blue sky and the festival of Timket always takes place in glorious weather.
Finding of the True Cross (Meskal) - Meskal has been celebrated in the country for over 1600 years. The word actually means "cross" and the feast commemorates the discovery of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The original event took place on 19 March 326 AD. but the feast is now celebrated on 27 September. Many of the rites observed throughout the festival are said to be directly connected to the legend of Empress Helena. On the eve of Meskal, tall branches are tied together ... Read more
Finding of the True Cross (Meskal) - Meskal has been celebrated in the country for over 1600 years. The word actually means "cross" and the feast commemorates the discovery of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The original event took place on 19 March 326 AD. but the feast is now celebrated on 27 September. Many of the rites observed throughout the festival are said to be directly connected to the legend of Empress Helena. On the eve of Meskal, tall branches are tied together and yellow daisies, popularly called Meskal Flowers, are placed at the top. During the night those branches are gathered together in front of the compound gates and ignited - This symbolizes the actions of the Empress who, when no one would show the Holy Sepulcher, lit incense and prayed for help Where the smoke drifted, she dug and found three roses. To one of the three, on the True Cross of Jesus, many miracles were attributed.
Meskal also signifies the physical presence of part of the True Cross at the church of Egziabher
Ab, the remote mountain monastery of Gishen Mariam located 483 km north of Addis Ababa in
Wello administrative zone. In this monastery, there is a massive volume called the Tefut written
during the reign of Zera Yacob (1434 - 1468), which records the story of how a fragment of the
cross was acquired.
During this time of the year flowers gloom on mountain and plain and the meadows are yellow
with the brilliant Meskal daisy. Dancing, feasting, merrymaking, bonfires and even gun salutes
mark the occasion. The festival begins by planting a green tree on Meskal eve in town squares
and village market places. Everyone brings a pole topped with Meskal daisies to form the
towering pyramid that will be a beacon of flame. Torches of tree branches tied up together called
"Chibo" are used to light the bundle called "Demera".
Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash) - Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 days or 6 days in leap year. The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September 11 and January 8.
Enkutatash means the "gift of jewels". When the famous Queen of Sheba returned from her
expensive jaunt to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her bolts by
replenishing her treasury with inku or jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since this
early times and as the rains come to their abrupt end, dancing and singing can be heard at every
village in the green countryside. Enkutatash is not exclusively a religious holiday. Today's
Enkutatash is also the season for exchanging formal new year greetings and cards among the
urban sophisticated - in lieu or the traditional bouquet of flowers.
Ethiopian Christmas (Genna) - Christmas, called Lidet, is not the primary religious and secular festival that it has become in Western countries. Falling on 7 January, it is celebrated seriously by churches service that goes on throughout the night, with people moving from one church to another. Traditionally, young men played a game similar to hockey, called genna , on this day, and now Christmas has also come to be known by that name.
Eid Al-fatir ( Breaking of Ramadan Fasting)Muslims in Addis Ababa showed at the city stadium early in the morning to celebrate the day through prayers.Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council President Sheik Mohammed Amin Jemal, on the occasion called on the Muslim community to continue the kindness they showed during the fasting month throughout the year, emphasizing the need to support each other.Kindness to one another and supporting the needy are not supposed to be limited to the month of Ramadan, the President added, they need to be ... Read more
Eid Al-fatir ( Breaking of Ramadan Fasting)Muslims in Addis Ababa showed at the city stadium early in the morning to celebrate the day through prayers.Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council President Sheik Mohammed Amin Jemal, on the occasion called on the Muslim community to continue the kindness they showed during the fasting month throughout the year, emphasizing the need to support each other.Kindness to one another and supporting the needy are not supposed to be limited to the month of Ramadan, the President added, they need to be exercised in everyday life.Eid al-Fitr, the feast of fast-breaking, is among the major Islamic holidays celebrated colorfully across the country.
Travel Guide For Health
You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may
also be required for travel.
Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip.
These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine,
diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine,
polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
Malaria Talk to your doctor about how to prevent malaria while
traveling. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during,
and after your trip to prevent malaria, especially if you are visiting
low-altitude areas. See more detailed information about malaria in
Ethiopian Currency (Birr)
The Ethiopian Birr is the currency of Ethiopia. The currency rankings show that the most popular
Ethiopia Birr exchange rate is the USD to ETB rate . The currency code for Birr is ETB, and the
currency symbol is Br. You can find Ethiopian Birr rates and a currency converter. Read the XE
Currency Blog , or take ETB rates on the go with the XE Currency Apps and website.
Foreign currency is rarely used in Ethiopia, instead you'll be paying for most hotels, tours and
food with Ethiopian currency - Birr . 1 Birr is divided into 100 cents. There are 1, 5, 10, 50 and
100 Birr notes. The Birr is very stable and there is no significant difference between the official
rate and black market rate.
Visas and Travel materials
Requirements for Entry:
World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination.
Visas - Every national (except Kenyans) need a visa to enter Ethiopia. Single-entry 1 -3-month tourist visas can be issued upon arrival at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa for most Europeans, US, Australian and Canadian nationals. There is confusing information about whether you pay for visas with US Dollars (you need to prove you have at least $100) or equivalent Ethiopian currency (which you can get at the bureau de change at the airport). Either way, you will also need 2 passport size photographs. To get the most current visa information; for business visas and multiple-entry tourist visas, contact your local Ethiopian Embassy.
Proof of an onward or return ticket is frequently asked for upon arrival in Ethiopia. Ivory Jewelry: Travelers transporting ivory will definitely be detained, imprisoned, or fined and the ivory may be confiscated.
We suggest you learn as much as you can about Ethiopia before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, start by talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
You can contact the emergency services in Ethiopia by dialing:
Our tips for safe travels
Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
Third only to Brussels and Washington DC, Addis Ababa is home to 118 diplomatic missions
accredited to both the government in Ethiopia, the AU and the UNECA. The best is yet to come,
when the Sheraton Hotel Addis Ababa, a member of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide
Inc., was opened in February 1998, it marked the first of such investment the city had to enjoy in
nearly three decades - the only other global name to precede it, Hilton Addis Ababa, was opened
in 1969. The years in between were, unfortunately, relegated to disproportional insignificance in
the development of the hotel industry.
Until recently there was little luxury accommodation available in Ethiopia, and to a degree that is
still the case. The country’s main offering is a range of camps and safari lodges of various
degrees of sophistication, some of which remain both basic and primarily functional. However,
particularly in areas such as Lalibela, Axum, Bahir Dar, Gondar, Hawasa, and in Addis
Ababa , there are now an increasing number of luxury International Hotels, Lodges, Guest
houses, Villas and Spas that are of a good to excellent standard.
Food And Clothing
Ethiopian food is one of the most exciting cuisines in the world. Not only is the food extremely
unique and extraordinarily flavorful, but the food culture that makes up Ethiopia is also
something truly fascinating. Ethiopian food is eaten with friends and family. Even the way
Ethiopian food is served, on a communal platter, is designed for sharing food with each other.
Food is not meant to be eaten alone in the culture of Ethiopia
Language (Amharic )
Ethiopia is a multiethnic state with a variety of languages spoken in the country, of which there
are 83 with 200 dialects. The main three languages are: Amharic (the national working language
of the country with its own unique alphabets), Tigrigna and Oromigna. English is also widely
spoken mainly in urban areas of the country. Other international languages like French,
Germany, Spanish Arabic and Chinese also has Ethiopian speakers.
10 surprising facts about Ethiopia
Ethiopia may not be the first place you think of when booking your next holiday, but it should be. The country has been at peace for more than 15 years and its economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. Add to this a staggering diversity of landscapes, kaleidoscope of cultures and history that tracks back to when our species first raised itself up onto two legs – and suddenly you’ve got one very surprising travel destination. And just to push the point further, here are 10 facts about Ethiopia you probably don’t know: 10. Thirteen months to the year Sure, plenty of cultures have their own calendars that they prefer to follow over the Western Gregorian one, but most still abide by the unspoken ’12 months to a year’ rule. Not Ethiopia. Ever looking to buck a trend, several thousand years ago the Ethiopians cottoned on to Spinal Tap’s belief that one more is always better – and have been counting 13 months to their year ever since. What does this mean? Well, that 2017 is still 2009 there. And that canny tourism boards can legitimately claim that the country really does boast ’13 months of sunshine’. 9. Ethiopian time Ethiopians also measure the hours of a day to a different schedule. In a piece of logic that’s kind of hard to argue against, they believe it’s less confusing if the clock starts when the day does. Thus, sunrise is 1 o’clock and sunset 12. Then the 12-hour night clock sets in. So when buying bus tickets etc., make sure you ask whether departure time is in Ethiopian or Western time. 8. Complete independence Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been brought under colonial control – a fact that locals will never tire of informing you. And fair enough too. The Italians did give colonisation a crack in 1935 – and succeeded in militarily occupying the country for six years – but Ethiopian forces were waging military opposition the entire time and the whole country was never brought under control. As some of the locals put it, “we waited until they had built us railways and nice buildings… and then kicked them out.” 7. A nation of festivals Ethiopia is a country full of vibrant and colourful festivals. The biggest, Timket, is a three-day annual festival that honours the baptism of Jesus Christ in the river Jordan. Today the priests remove the ‘Tabots’ (replicas of the Ark of Covenant) from each church and march to the nearest water source, where the communal baptism takes place. The procession is accompanied by thousands of locals dressed in dazzling white traditional dress that contrasts with the colours of the ceremonial robes and sequined velvet umbrellas of the priests. SOUND GOOD? VISIT TIMKET ON OUR 14-DAY JOURNEY THROUGH ETHIOPIA 6. The birthplace of the Rastafarian movement Thought it was Jamaica? Nope. While much of the Rastafarian movement did evolve in Jamaica, the spiritual homeland of it is in actual fact Ethiopia. In Amharic, ‘ras’ is a title similar to chief, and ‘tafari’ the first name of Emperor Haile Selassie I – essentially the movement posits Selassie as an incarnation of God. Need further evidence? Just check out the colours on the Ethiopian flag. Familiar no? 5. The first cup of coffee You know your morning caffeine shot? You’ve got some Ethiopian goats to thank for that. As the story goes, a goat herder way back when noticed his flock’s fondness for a certain bush and decided to give one of the fruits a nibble himself. His day’s herding was notably more efficient for it – and the coffee industry took off from there. 4. The oldest people in the world Several archaeological findings in Ethiopia’s Afar region go quite some way in suggesting that the country may be where we all started out from. In 1972, Donald Johanson and Tim D. White discovered Lucy, a 3.2 million year old hominid skeleton. For years, Lucy was all the rage, embarking on a nine-year worldwide tour and enjoying widespread fame. Then Ardi, also from the Afar region but one million years her senior, rocked up and blew her out of the water. So you arguably also have the Ethiopians to thank for, well… you. 3. Abebe Bikila In 1960, an Ethiopian by the name of Abebe Bikila became the first black African to win gold in the Olympics. Only making the team selection at the last minute due to another athlete’s broken foot, Bikila opted to run the marathon barefoot, pipping hot favourite Moroccan Rhadi Ben Abdesselam by a full 25 seconds. Four years later, Bikila won the Tokyo Olympics, setting a world record and becoming the first ever person to win the Olympic marathon twice. When asked if he wasn’t tired (he didn’t look it), he answered that he could’ve done with another 10 kilometres! 2. Addis Ababa Ok, there’s no getting away from the fact that Addis fits the bill of being a big, dusty, overcrowded city. But it’s also home of the African Union, headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and, at an altitude of 2,450 metres, the worlds fourth-highest capital city. Its name translates to ‘New Flower’ in Amharic. 1. Ethiopia for vegetarians Ethiopian cooking is some of the tastiest, healthiest and most diverse cuisine on the continent. And, unlike many African countries, it’s a haven for vegetarians. The simple reason for this is that most Ethiopians follow a particular strand of Orthodox Christianity that prohibits the eating of any animal products on Wednesdays and Fridays. And the happy by-product of this for herbivores is that restaurants tend to always have a few deliciously spicy vegan stews on the menu (it also means that when you say that you don’t eat meat they’ll actually understand the idea, instead of replacing the beef you requested be left off your pizza with, say, chicken).