Friday, September 11, 2009

Melkam Adis Amet!

Today, September 11, Ethiopia welcomes in the New Year and the year 2002!

In Addis Ababa, Children's Hope's staff celebrated with the children at our transition home, the House of Hope. The kids had celebratory food and blew up yellow balloons. There was much joy and a lot of hugs and jumping up and down!

Some interesting background: The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September 11 and January 8, as the country still retains the Julian calendar.

Enkutatash, Ethiopia's name for the New Year, means the “gift of jewels”. When the famous Queen of Sheba returned from her lavish trip to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her return by filling her treasury with jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since this early time and, as the rains come to their abrupt end, dancing and singing can be heard in every village along 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 of traditional bouquets of flowers. It is a time to express hopes and dreams for the future. Meskerem (September) is seen as a month of transition from the old year to the new.


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