September’s Significance: The Story of the Ethiopian Calendar


Could you elucidate on the reasons for the Ethiopian calendar commencing its year in September?


The Ethiopian calendar is closely linked to the agrarian cycle. September marks the end of the heavy rainy season and the beginning of a new harvest season. This period is characterized by clear skies and the appearance of the star cluster Pleiades, known in Ethiopia as “Kidanemihret,” which signifies the start of a fruitful season.

Religious Traditions:

The timing also aligns with religious narratives. According to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the world was created in September. Additionally, this month is believed to be the time when John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ. The Ethiopian New Year, called “Enkutatash,” meaning “gift of jewels,” is celebrated on September 11th (or September 12th in a leap year), symbolizing renewal and optimism for the coming year.

Historical Context:

The Ethiopian calendar is based on the ancient Coptic calendar, which itself is derived from the Egyptian calendar. These calendars were structured around the annual flooding of the Nile, which also occurred around September, further reinforcing the significance of this month in the Ethiopian calendar.

Cultural Significance:

Starting the year in September has a cultural impact as well. It is a time of social gatherings, shared meals, and communal celebrations, reinforcing social bonds and cultural identity.

In summary, the Ethiopian calendar’s commencement in September is a confluence of environmental, religious, and historical factors that have been observed and celebrated for centuries in Ethiopia. It is a testament to the country’s rich heritage and its synchronization with the natural world. For more detailed information on the Ethiopian calendar, you can refer to the comprehensive explanation provided by Ethiopian sources.

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