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The Ethiopian calendar (Amharic : የኢትዮጵያ ዘመን አቆጣጠር; yä'Ityoṗṗya zëmän aḳoṭaṭär) or Eritrean calendar is the principal calendar used in Ethiopia and also serves as the liturgical year for Christians in Eritrea and Ethiopia belonging to the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, and Ethiopian-Eritrean Evangelicalism (Ethiopian-Eritrean Protestants in the diaspora usually use both the Ethiopian and Gregorian Calendars for liturgical purposes, by celebrating religious holidays twice). It is a solar calendar which in turn derives from the Egyptian calendar, but like the Julian calendar, it adds a leap day every four years without exception, and begins the year on August 29 or August 30 in the Julian calendar. A gap of 7–8 years between the Ethiopian and Gregorian calendars results from an alternative calculation in determining the date of the Annunciation.
Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country in the northeastern part of Africa, known as the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, the de facto state of Somaliland and Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, South Sudan to the west and Sudan to the northwest. With over 102 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populous nation on the African continent with a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi). Its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa, which lies a few miles west of the East African Rift that splits the country into the Nubian and Somali tectonic plates.
The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read either in an annual cycle or in a cycle of several years.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.
Like the Coptic calendar, the Ethiopic calendar has 12 months of 30 days plus 5 or 6 epagomenal days, which comprise a thirteenth month. The Ethiopian months begin on the same days as those of the Coptic calendar, but their names are in Ge'ez. A 6th epagomenal day is added every 4 years, without exception, on August 29 of the Julian calendar, 6 months before the corresponding Julian leap day. Thus the first day of the Ethiopian year, 1 Mäskäräm, for years between 1900 and 2099 (inclusive), is usually September 11 (Gregorian). However, it falls on September 12 in years before the Gregorian leap year.
The Coptic calendar, also called the Alexandrian calendar, is a liturgical calendar used by the Coptic Orthodox Church and also used by the farming populace in Egypt. This calendar is based on the ancient Egyptian calendar. To avoid the calendar creep of the latter, a reform of the ancient Egyptian calendar was introduced at the time of Ptolemy III which consisted of the intercalation of a sixth epagomenal day every fourth year. However, this reform was opposed by the Egyptian priests, and the reform was not adopted until 25 BC, when the Roman Emperor Augustus imposed the Decree upon Egypt as its official calendar. To distinguish it from the Ancient Egyptian calendar, which remained in use by some astronomers until medieval times, this reformed calendar is known as the Coptic calendar. Its years and months coincide with those of the Ethiopian calendar but have different numbers and names.
Intercalation or embolism in timekeeping is the insertion of a leap day, week, or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases. Lunisolar calendars may require intercalations of both days and months.
Enkutatash is the word for the Ethiopian New Year in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, while it is called Ri'se Awde Amet ("Head Anniversary") in Ge'ez, the term preferred by the Ethiopian & Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Churches. It occurs on September 11th in the Gregorian Calendar; except for the year preceding a leap year, when it occurs on September 12th. The Ethiopian Calendar Year 1998 Amätä Məhrät ("Year of Mercy") began on the Gregorian Calendar Year on September 11th, 2005. However, the Ethiopian Years 1992 and 1996 began on the Gregorian Dates of 'September 12th 1999' and '2003' respectively.
Enkutatash is the first day of the New Year in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It occurs on Meskerem 1 on the Ethiopian calendar, which is 11 September according to the Gregorian calendar.
New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count increments by one.
Amharic is one of the Ethiopian Semitic languages, which are a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages. It is spoken as a first language by the Amharas and as a lingua franca by other populations residing in major cities and towns of Ethiopia.
This date correspondence applies for the Gregorian years 1900 to 2099. The Ethiopian leap year is every four without exception, while Gregorian centurial years are only leap years when exactly divisible by 400; thus a set of corresponding dates will most often apply for a single century. As the Gregorian year 2000 is a leap year, the current correspondence lasts two centuries instead.
The start of the Ethiopian year (Feast of El-Nayrouz) falls on August 29th or 30th (in the year just before the Julian leap year). This date corresponds to the Old-Style Julian Calendar; therefore, the start of the year has been transferred forward in the currently used Gregorian Calendar to September 11th or 12th (in the year just before the Julian leap year). This deviation between the Julian and the Gregorian Calendar will increase with the passing of the time. One may observe the real start date in future centuries in a Gregorian to Ethiopian Date Converter.
To indicate the year, Ethiopians and followers of the Eritrean churches today use the Incarnation Era, which dates from the Annunciation or Incarnation of Jesus on March 25, AD 9 (Julian), as calculated by Annianus of Alexandria c. 400; thus its first civil year began 7 months earlier on August 29, AD 8. Meanwhile, Europeans eventually adopted the calculations made by Dionysius Exiguus in AD 525 instead, which placed the Annunciation 8 years earlier than had Annianus. This causes the Ethiopian year number to be 8 years less than the Gregorian year number from January 1 until September 10 or 11, then 7 years less for the remainder of the Gregorian year.
In Christian theology, the incarnation is the belief that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos, "was made flesh" by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos. The doctrine of the incarnation, then, entails that Jesus is fully God and fully human.
Annianus of Alexandria was a monk who flourished in Alexandria during the bishopric of Theophilus of Alexandria around the beginning of the fifth century. He criticized the world history of his contemporary monk Panodorus of Alexandria for relying too much on secular sources rather than biblical sources for his dates.
Dionysius Exiguus was a 6th-century monk born in Scythia Minor. He was a member of a community of Scythian monks concentrated in Tomis, the major city of Scythia Minor. Dionysius is best known as the inventor of the Anno Domini (AD) era, which is used to number the years of both the Gregorian calendar and the (Christianised) Julian calendar. Almost all churches adopted his computus (calculation) for the dates of Easter.
In the past, a number of other eras for numbering years were also widely used in Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Aksum.
An era is a span of time defined for the purposes of chronology or historiography, as in the regnal eras in the history of a given monarchy, a calendar era used for a given calendar, or the geological eras defined for the history of Earth.
The Kingdom of Aksum, also known as the Kingdom of Axum or the Aksumite Empire, was an ancient kingdom centered in what is now Eritrea and the Tigray Region of northern Ethiopia. Axumite Emperors were powerful sovereigns, styling themselves King of kings, king of Aksum, Himyar, Raydan, Saba, Salhen, Tsiyamo, Beja and of Kush. Ruled by the Aksumites, it existed from approximately 100 AD to 940 AD. The polity was centered in the city of Axum and grew from the proto-Aksumite Iron Age period around the 4th century BC to achieve prominence by the 1st century AD. Aksum became a major player on the commercial route between the Roman Empire and Ancient India. The Aksumite rulers facilitated trade by minting their own Aksumite currency, with the state establishing its hegemony over the declining Kingdom of Kush. It also regularly entered the politics of the kingdoms on the Arabian Peninsula and eventually extended its rule over the region with the conquest of the Himyarite Kingdom. The Manichaei prophet Mani regarded Axum as one of the four great powers of his time, the others being Persia, Rome, and China.
The most important era – once widely used by the Eastern Christianity, and still used by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria – was the Era of Martyrs, also known as the Diocletian Era, or the era of Diocletian and the Martyrs, whose first year began on August 29, 284.
Respective to the Gregorian and Julian New Year's Days, 31⁄2 to 4 months later, the difference between the Era of Martyrs and the Anni Domini is 285 years (285= 15×19). This is because in AD 525, Dionysius Exiguus decided to add 15 Metonic cycles to the existing 13 Metonic cycles of the Diocletian Era (15×19 + 13×19 = 532) to obtain an entire 532 year medieval Easter cycle, whose first cycle ended with the year Era of Martyrs 247 (= 13×19) equal to year DXXXI. It is also because 532 is the product of the Metonic cycle of 19 years and the solar cycle of 28 years.
Around AD 400, an Alexandrine monk called Panodoros fixed the Alexandrian Era (Anno Mundi = in the year of the world), the date of creation, on 29 August 5493 BC. After the 6th century AD, the era was used by Egyptian and Ethiopian chronologists. The twelfth 532 year-cycle of this era began on 29 August AD 360, and so 4×19 years after the Era of Martyrs.
Bishop Anianos preferred the Annunciation style as New Year's Day, 25 March (see above). Thus he shifted the Panodoros era by about six months, to begin on 25 March 5492 BC. In the Ethiopian calendar this was equivalent to 15 Magabit 5501 B.C. (E.C.). The Anno Mundi era remained in usage until the late 19th century.
The 4 year leap-year cycle is associated with the four Evangelists: the first year after an Ethiopian leap year is named the John-year, followed by the Matthew-year, and then the Mark-year. The year with the 6th epagomenal day is traditionally designated as the Luke-year.
There are no exceptions to the 4 year leap-year cycle, like the Julian calendar but unlike the Gregorian calendar.
| Ge'ez, Tigrinya, and Amharic language |
(with Amharic suffixes in parentheses)
|Coptic|| Julian |
| Gregorian |
[From March 1900 to February 2100]
|Gregorian Start Date|
in Year after Ethiopian Leap Day
|Mäskäräm (መስከረም)||Tut (Thout)||August 29||September 11||September 12|
|Ṭəqəmt(i) (ጥቅምት)||Babah (Paopi)||September 28||October 11||October 12|
|Ḫədar (ኅዳር)||Hatur (Hathor)||October 28||November 10||November 11|
|Taḫśaś ( ታኅሣሥ)||Kiyahk (Koiak)||November 27||December 10||December 11|
|Ṭərr(i) (ጥር)||Tubah (Tobi)||December 27||January 9||January 10|
|Yäkatit (Tn. Läkatit) (የካቲት)||Amshir (Meshir)||January 26||February 8||February 9|
|Mägabit (መጋቢት)||Baramhat (Paremhat)||February 25||March 10||March 10|
|Miyazya (ሚያዝያ)||Baramundah (Parmouti)||March 27||April 9||April 9|
|Gənbo (t) (ግንቦት)||Bashans (Pashons)||April 26||May 9||May 9|
|Säne (ሰኔ)||Ba'unah (Paoni)||May 26||June 8||June 8|
|Ḥamle (ሐምሌ)||Abib (Epip)||June 25||July 8||July 8|
|Nähase (ነሐሴ)||Misra (Mesori)||July 25||August 7||August 7|
|Ṗagʷəmen/Ṗagume (ጳጐሜን/ጳጉሜ)||Nasi (Pi Kogi Enavot)||August 24||September 6||September 6|
These dates are valid only from March 1900 to February 2100. This is because 1900 and 2100 are not leap years in the Gregorian calendar, while they are still leap years in the Ethiopian calendar, meaning dates before 1900 and after 2100 will be offset.
The terms anno Domini (AD) and before Christ (BC) are used to label or number years in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The term anno Domini is Medieval Latin and means "in the year of the Lord", but is often presented using "our Lord" instead of "the Lord", taken from the full original phrase "anno Domini nostri Jesu Christi", which translates to "in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ".
A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A date is the designation of a single, specific day within such a system. A calendar is also a physical record of such a system. A calendar can also mean a list of planned events, such as a court calendar or a partly or fully chronological list of documents, such as a calendar of wills.
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is an Oriental Orthodox Christian church based in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East. The head of the Church and the See of Alexandria is the Patriarch of Alexandria on the Holy See of Saint Mark, who also carries the title of Coptic Pope. The See of Alexandria is titular, and today the Coptic Pope presides from Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbassia District in Cairo. The church follows the Alexandrian Rite for its liturgy, prayer and devotional patrimony. With 18–22 million members worldwide, whereof about 15 to 20 million are in Egypt, it is the country's largest Christian church.
The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar in 708 AUC (46 BC/BCE), was a reform of the Roman calendar. It took effect on 1 January 709 AUC (45 BC/BCE), by edict. It was the predominant calendar in the Roman world, most of Europe, and in European settlements in the Americas and elsewhere, until it was gradually replaced by the Gregorian calendar, promulgated in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII.
The Revised Julian calendar, also known as the Milanković calendar, or, less formally, new calendar, is a calendar proposed by the Serbian scientist Milutin Milanković in 1923, which effectively discontinued the 340 years of divergence between the naming of dates sanctioned by those Eastern Orthodox churches adopting it and the Gregorian calendar that has come to predominate worldwide. This calendar was intended to replace the ecclesiastical calendar based on the Julian calendar hitherto in use by all of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Revised Julian calendar temporarily aligns its dates with the Gregorian calendar proclaimed in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII for adoption by the Christian world. The calendar has been adopted by the Orthodox churches of Constantinople, Albania, Alexandria, Antioch, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, and Romania.
The ancient Egyptian calendar was a solar calendar with a 365-day year. The year consisted of three seasons of 120 days each, plus an intercalary month of five epagomenal days treated as outside of the year proper. Each season was divided into four months of 30 days. These twelve months were initially numbered within each season but came to also be known by the names of their principal festivals. Each month was divided into three 10-day periods known as decans or decades. It has been suggested that during the Nineteenth Dynasty and the Twentieth Dynasty the last two days of each decan were usually treated as a kind of weekend for the royal craftsmen, with royal artisans free from work.
The epact used to be described by medieval computists as the age of the Moon in days on 22 March; in the newer Gregorian calendar, however, the epact is reckoned as the age of the ecclesiastical moon on 1 January. Its principal use is in determining the date of Easter by computistical methods. It varies from year to year, because of the difference between the solar year of 365–366 days and the lunar year of 354–355 days.
Saint Frumentius was the first bishop of Axum, and is credited with bringing Christianity to the Kingdom of Aksum. He is sometimes known by other names, such as Abuna and Aba Salama.
A calendar era is the year numbering system used by a calendar. For example, the Gregorian calendar numbers its years in the Western Christian era. The instant, date, or year from which time is marked is called the epoch of the era. There are many different calendar eras.
The Era of the Martyrs, also known as the Diocletian era, is a method of numbering years used by the Church of Alexandria beginning in the 4th century AD and by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria from the 5th century to the present. Western Christians were aware of it but did not use it. It was named for the Roman Emperor Diocletian who instigated the last major persecution against Christians in the Empire. Diocletian began his reign 20 November 284 during the Alexandrian year that began on 1 Thoth, the Egyptian New Year, or 29 August 284, so that date was used as the epoch: year one of the Diocletian era began on that date. This era was used to number the year in Easter tables produced by the Church of Alexandria.
Mesori is the twelfth month of the ancient Egyptian and Coptic calendars. It is identical to Nahase in the Ethiopian calendar.
The intercalary month or epagomenal days of the ancient Egyptian, Coptic, and Ethiopian calendars are a period of five days in common years and six days in leap years in addition to those calendars' 12 standard months, sometimes reckoned as their thirteenth month. They originated as a periodic measure to ensure that the heliacal rising of Sirius would occur in the 12th month of the Egyptian lunar calendar but became a regular feature of the civil calendar and its descendants. Coptic and Ethiopian leap days occur in the year preceding Gregorian leap years.
Nayrouz or Neyrouz is a feast when martyrs and confessors are commemorated within the Coptic Orthodox Church. Celebrated on September 11, the day is both the start of the Coptic new year and its first month, Thout.
Orthodox Tewahedo is the common and historical name of two Oriental Orthodox churches. These are the predominant Orthodox Christian denominations in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The adoption of the Gregorian Calendar was an event in the modern history of most nations and societies, marking a change from their traditional dating system to the modern dating system that is widely used around the world today. Some countries adopted the new calendar from 1582, some did not do so before the early twentieth century, and others did so at various dates between; however a number continue to use a different civil calendar. For many the new style calendar is only used for civil purposes and the old style calendar remains used in religious contexts. Today, the Gregorian calendar is the world's most widely used civil calendar. During – and for some time after – the change between systems, it has been common to use the terms Old Style and New Style when giving dates, to indicate which calendar was used to reckon them.
The Kidane Mehret Church in Jerusalem is part of the Debre Genet monastery, whose name means "Monastery of Paradise".
Church of Madhane Alam in Majate, 1892–1893, known from the endnote on fol. 95r, which gives a record in Amharic of a land grant to the church of Mǝğäte Mädḫane ‛Aläm, enacted in the Year of Matthew, 7385 Anno Mundi (= 1885 EC = 1892–1893 AD)