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The Ethiopian calendar (Ge'ez: ዓዉደ ወርህ; Tigrinya: ዓዉደ ኣዋርሕ; Amharic: የኢትዮጲያ ዘመን ኣቆጣጠር), Eritrean calendar, or the Ge'ez calendar (ge'ez: ዓዉደ ወርህ; Tigrinya: ዓዉደ ኣዋርሕ; Amharic: የኢትዮጲያ ዘመን ኣቆጣጠር) is the principal calendar used in Ethiopia and Eritrea, which also serves as the liturgical year for Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians belonging to the Orthodox Tewahedo Churches (Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church), Eastern Catholic Churches (Eritrean Catholic Church and Ethiopian Catholic Church), and Eastern Protestant Christian P'ent'ay (Ethiopian-Eritrean Evangelical) Churches (most Protestants in the diaspora have the option of choosing the Ethiopian calendar or the Gregorian calendar for religious holidays, with this option being used when the corresponding eastern celebration is not a public holiday in the western world). The Ethiopian calendar is a solar calendar that has more in common with the Coptic calendar of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Coptic Catholic Church, 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 seven to eight years between the Ethiopian and Gregorian calendars results from an alternative calculation in determining the date of the Annunciation.[ citation needed ]
The Ethiopian calendar has twelve months of thirty days plus five or six 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 sixth epagomenal day is added every four years, without exception, on August 29 of the Julian calendar, six months before the corresponding Julian leap day. Thus the first day of the Ethiopian calendar year, 1 Mäskäräm, for years between 1900 and 2099 (inclusive), is usually September 11 (Gregorian). It falls on September 12 in years before the Gregorian leap year, however.[ citation needed ]
The Ethiopian New Year is called Kudus Yohannes in Ge'ez and Tigrinya, while in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia it is called Enkutatash. It occurs on September 11 in the Gregorian Calendar; except for the year preceding a leap year, when it occurs on September 12. The Ethiopian Calendar Year 1998 Amätä Məhrät ("Year of Mercy") began on the Gregorian Calendar Year on September 11, 2005. The Ethiopian calendar Years 1992 and 1996, however, began on the Gregorian Dates of 'September 12th 1999' and '2003' respectively.[ citation needed ]
This date correspondence applies for the Gregorian years 1900 to 2099. The Ethiopian calendar 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.[ citation needed ]
The start of the Ethiopian calendar year (Feast of El-Nayrouz) falls on 29 or 30 August (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 11 or 12 September (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 calendar to Ethiopian calendar Date Converter.
To indicate the year, followers of the Ethiopian and 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 seven 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 eight years earlier than had Annianus. This causes the Ethiopian year number to be eight years less than the Gregorian year number from January 1 until September 10 or 11, then seven years less for the remainder of the Gregorian year.
In the past, a number of other eras for numbering years were also widely used in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Kingdom of Aksum.
The most important era – once widely used by the Eastern Christianity, and still used by the Coptic Orthodox Church of England was the Era of Martyrs, also known as the Diocletian Era, or the era of Diocletian and the Martyrs, whose first year began on October 29, 328.
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 Anno 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 (= 13×20) equal to year DXXXI. It is also because 532 is the product of the Metonic cycle of 20 years and the solar cycle of 28 years. It has 13 months in a year.
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, Ethiopian, and Eritrean 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 four-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 sixth epagomenal day is traditionally designated as the Luke-year.
There are no exceptions to the four-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)||Thout (Ⲑⲱⲟⲩⲧ)||29 August||11 September||12 September|
|Ṭəqəmt(i) (ጥቅምት)||Paopi (Ⲡⲁⲱⲡⲉ)||28 September||11 October||12 October|
|Ḫədar (ኅዳር)||Hathor (Ϩⲁⲑⲱⲣ)||28 October||10 November||11 November|
|Taḫśaś ( ታኅሣሥ)||Koiak (Ⲕⲟⲓⲁⲕ)||27 November||10 December||11 December|
|Ṭərr(i) (ጥር)||Tobi (Ⲧⲱⲃⲓ)||27 December||9 January||10 January|
|Yäkatit (Tn. Läkatit) (የካቲት)||Meshir (Ⲙⲉϣⲓⲣ)||26 January||8 February||9 February|
|Mägabit (መጋቢት)||Paremhat (Ⲡⲁⲣⲉⲙϩⲁⲧ)||25 February||10 March||10 March|
|Miyazya (ሚያዝያ)||Parmouti (Ⲡⲁⲣⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ)||27 March||9 April||9 April|
|Gənbo (t) (ግንቦት)||Pashons (Ⲡⲁϣⲟⲛⲥ)||26 April||9 May||9 May|
|Säne (ሰኔ)||Paoni (Ⲡⲁⲱⲛⲓ)||26 May||8 June||8 June|
|Ḥamle (ሐምሌ)||Epip (Ⲉⲡⲓⲡ)||25 June||8 July||8 July|
|Nähase (ነሐሴ)||Mesori (Ⲙⲉⲥⲱⲣⲓ)||25 July||7 August||7 August|
|Ṗagʷəmen/Ṗagume (ጳጐሜን/ጳጉሜ)||Pikougi Enavot (Ⲡⲓⲕⲟⲩϫⲓ ⲛ̀ⲁⲃⲟⲧ)||24 August||6 September||6 September|
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".
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.
The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar in AUC 708, was a reform of the Roman calendar. It took effect on 1 January AUC 709 , by edict. It was designed with the aid of Greek mathematicians and astronomers such as Sosigenes of Alexandria.
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 or Alexandrian calendar. Its years and months coincide with those of the Ge'ez calendar but have different numbers and names.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest of Eastern Christianity's branch of Oriental Orthodox Christian churches. One of the few Christian churches in Sub-Saharan Africa originating before European colonization of the continent, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church dates back millennia, and has a current membership of about 36 million people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia. It is a founding member of the World Council of Churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is in communion with the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church, having gained autocephaly in 1959.
Frumentius was a Phoenician Christian missionary and the first bishop of Axum who brought Christianity to the Kingdom of Aksum. He is sometimes known by other names, such as Abuna and Aba Salama.
Annianus of Alexandria was a monk who flourished in Alexandria during the bishopric of Theophilus of Alexandria around the beginning of the 5th 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.
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 Julian and Gregorian leap years.
Ethiopian Semitic is a family of languages spoken in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan. They form the western branch of the South Semitic languages, itself a sub-branch of Semitic, part of the Afroasiatic language family.
Abuna is the honorific title used for any bishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as well as of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. It was historically used solely for the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Ethiopia during the more than 1000 years when the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria appointed only one bishop at a time to serve its Ethiopian flock. When referred to without a name following, it is Abun, and if a name follows, it becomes Abuna.
Habesha peoples is an ethnic identifier frequently employed to refer to Semitic language-speaking peoples mainly found in the highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Historically, the term was applied to predominantly Christian groups, and this usage remains common today. The term is used in varying degrees of exclusion and inclusivity: Most commonly, it includes all highland Semitic language-speaking Christians; sometimes it is employed in an expanded sense to include Muslim communities as well as Christians. At the extremes, the term is currently sometimes employed in a restrictive sense to only refer to speakers of Tigrinya, while recently, some within diasporic communities have adopted the term to refer to all people of Eritrean or Ethiopian origin.
Enkutatash is a public holiday in coincidence of New Year in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It occurs on Meskerem 1 on the Ethiopian calendar, which is 11 September according to the Gregorian calendar.
Ewostatewos was an Ethiopian religious leader of the Orthodox Tewahedo during the early period of the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopian Empire. He was a forceful advocate for the observation of the Sabbath in Christianity. His followers, known as the House of Ewostatewos, have been a historic force in Tewahedo Orthodoxy.
Geʽez is a script used as an abugida (alphasyllabary) for several Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. It originated as an abjad and was first used to write the Geʽez language, now the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Eritrean Catholic Church, the Ethiopian Catholic Church, and Haymanot Judaism of the Beta Israel Jewish community in Ethiopia. In Amharic and Tigrinya, the script is often called fidäl (ፊደል), meaning “script” or “letter”.
The Ethiopian Catholic Church is a metropolitan sui iuris Eastern particular church within the Catholic Church, established in 1930 in Ethiopia.
Fasika is the Ge'ez, Amharic, and Tigrinya word for Easter, also called Tensae.
Although Christianity became the state religion of Ethiopia in the 4th century, and the Bible was first translated into Ge'ez at about that time, only in the last two centuries have there appeared translations of the Bible into Amharic.
Orthodox Tewahedo is the common and historical name of the Oriental Orthodox jurisdiction in the former Ethiopian Empire, that would later become the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo churches. Until 1959, the Orthodox Tewahedo were administratively part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The church was granted autocephaly and its own patriarch that year by Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria. Following Eritrean independence from Ethiopia in 1993, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church became autocephalous through Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria and it officially separated from what is now the distinct Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
The Kidane Mehret Church in Jerusalem is part of the Debre Genet monastery, whose name means "Monastery of Paradise".
Fasting and abstinence have historically constituted a major element of the practice of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, following the counsel of Saint Paul to "chastise the body and bring it under subjection" per 1 Corinthians 9:27. It is generally agreed, and asserted by the Church itself, that the fasting regime of the Ethiopian Church is the strictest of any Church, with 180 mandatory fasting days for laypeople and up to 252 days for clergy and the particularly observant. The general list of fasts are laid out in the Fetha Negest.
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)