13-month Ethiopian calendar: What is the reason?

Traveling to Ethiopia is like traveling back in time. When you first arrive in Ethiopia, you can't help but notice that the 13-month Ethiopian calendar is seven or eight years behind the rest of the globe.

Ethiopia might not spring to mind when you think of a holiday destination, and that is where you will go wrong. This is because many people are unaware of some of the most amazing facts about this country. Continue reading to find out.

1. Ethiopian calendar today

While most of the world observes the passage of time using the Gregorian calendar, Ethiopia has its own calendar, also known as the Ge'ez Calendar. The Ethiopian Calendar, which is based on the ancient Coptic Calendar, is seven to eight years behind the Gregorian Calendar due to different computations in estimating the date of Jesus' annunciation.

The Ethiopian Calendar consists of 12 months. Each has 30 days, with five or six extra days (also referred to as the 13th month) added at the end of the year to align the calendar with the solar cycle.

What year is it in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia is currently in the year 2015. The Ethiopian year begins on September 11th or 12th in a Gregorian leap year. It is seven to eight years behind the Gregorian year due to different computations used to determine the date of Jesus' birth.

Ethiopia's calendar differs from both the Coptic and Julian calendars; the Coptic and Ethiopian calendars diverge by 276 years. Despite this, Ethiopia's calendar is intimately related to the Coptic Church's laws and the many computations inspired by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

Ethiopian calendar

Ethiopian calendar

2. 13-month Ethiopian calendar

A year in the Ethiopian calendar has 13 months, 12 of which have 30 days. Pagume, the penultimate month, has five days, and six days in a leap year. The Gregorian calendar, on the other hand, features days that might be less or more than 30 in a month. This implies they are seven to eight years behind the rest of us, with 2014 beginning in September.

3. Why is the Ethiopian calendar behind by 07 years?

Ethiopia's calendar is based on the belief that Adam and Eve resided in the Garden of Eden for seven years before being exiled for their crimes. The Bible says that once they repented, God promised to save them after 5,500 years.

Ethiopians refer to the process used to compute the calendar as Bahere Hasab, which translates as "sea of ideas." This country estimates Jesus Christ's birth year differently. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church did not change its calculation when the Catholic Church did in 500 AD. Another distinction is that Ethiopians celebrate the start of a new year on September 11th, or September 12 if it is a leap year, according to the BBC.

So, at least officially, Ethiopians only celebrated the millennium's turn on September 11th, 2007. Because of the distinct calendar, the country celebrates various public holidays on different dates than other countries throughout the world.

Ethiopia still follows its old calendar today. Travelers, on the other hand, are rarely inconvenienced by the calendar variation. The Gregorian calendar is known to the majority of Ethiopians, and some even use both calendars interchangeably. It may appear perplexing, but Ethiopians will be unconcerned.

Ethiopia calendar is behind by 07 years

Ethiopia calendar is behind by 07 years

4. What are the differences between Ethiopian Calendar and Gregorian Calendar

The significant differences between the Ethiopian Calendar and the Gregorian (English) Calendar are noted below. However, keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive technical explanation of the Ethiopian calendar.

  • A year in the Ethiopian Calendar has 13 months.
  • Each of the first 12 Ethiopian calendar months has 30 days. Only the thirteenth month has 5 or 6 days.
  • The 13th month is known as Pagume (in Amharic). When an Ethiopian year does not feature a leap year, the 13th month (Pagume) has 05 days.
  • The Ethiopian calendar has a leap year every four years; hence the 13th month, Pagume, will have six days in the year. The Ethiopian year 2011 was a leap year, for example. In the Ethiopian year 2011, Pagume had 06 days.
  • Ethiopian New Year is celebrated on September 1st (according to the Ethiopian calendar), not January 1st.
  • The exact date of the Ethiopian New Year might vary by one day depending on whether the concluding year is an Ethiopian leap year or not. When the ending year is not an Ethiopian leap year, the Ethiopian new year falls on September 11th.
  • However, if the ending year is an Ethiopian leap year (i.e., if the ending year has 06 days in Pagume), the New Year will be on September 12th. So, unless the concluding year is a leap year, 9/11 falls on the Ethiopian new year.
  • The Ethiopian year is 07 years behind the Gregorian year from September 11th (or September 12th in leap years) through December 31st. However, the Ethiopian year lags 08 years behind from January 1st to September 10th (or September 11th in leap years). In the Ethiopian calendar, the Gregorian (English) date 11/27/2018 was 03/18/2011. The Ethiopian year is 07 years behind the Gregorian year in Ethiopia. However, the Gregorian date 05/26/2019 was 09/18/2011, putting May 8 years behind.
  • Ethiopian dates are often written in the format dd/mm/yyyy. As a result, the sample date above, 03/18/2011, is not in the standard Ethiopian date writing format. It should be written as 18 March 2011.

People celebrate New Year in Ethiopia

People celebrate New Year in Ethiopia

5. Ethiopian holiday calendar

Ethiopia has 13 recognized public holidays, 10 of which are observed by the closure of government offices, most companies, and schools. The list of Ethiopian public holidays for each year is below.

  • Ethiopian Christmas (Genna) – January 7
  • Ethiopian Epiphany (Timkat) – January 19
  • The victory of Adwa Commemoration Day – March 2
  • International Labour Day – May 1
  • Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) – March 13
  • Patriots Victory Day – April 6
  • Eid al-Adha (Arafa) – April 17
  • Ethiopian Good Friday (Siklet) – April 25
  • Ethiopian Easter (Fasika) – April 27
  • The downfall of the Dergue – May 28
  • Birth of Prophet Mohammed (Moulid) – July 17
  • Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash) – September 11
  • Finding of the True Cross (Meskel) – September 27

Ethiopia still utilizes its old 13-month Ethiopian calendar, which causes little trouble for travelers due to the calendar discrepancy. Most Ethiopians, however, are now familiar with the Gregorian calendar, and some even use both calendars interchangeably. Ethiopia is one of the few countries worldwide that continues to utilize its own calendar system.

The nation observes significant holidays on days that differ from those followed by the rest of the globe. Your journey through Ethiopia can be convenient and prompt with our Ethiopia e-Visa services. Check it out now!