Adventures in Ethiopia believes that the best way to really be part of Ethiopian culture is through its many festivals and religious ceremonies. These events can be visited in conjunction with other sites around the country. To this end, we can provid major of holidays integrate into any one of our package tours.
The major religious events in Ethiopia are mostly linked to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, whose history goes back to the 3rd Century. Due to a strong faith, celebrations and festivals play an important part in daily life. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church ceremonies are unique and impressive, especially Timket, Genna and Meskel. During these festivals, which are celebrated across the country, religious followers and priests dress in traditional garb, and large amounts of food and drink are almost always consumed.
Other holidays include Enkutatash (New Year) and Fasika (Easter). The Islamic Islamic tradition also celebrates religious festivals in the Ethiopian calendar, notably, Muharram, Milad-an-Nabi and Eid-ul-Fitr.
Time and Data
Ethiopia uses its own calendar which divides the year into 12 months of 30 days each, with the remaining five (or six days in a long year) constituting a short 13th month of Pagme. The Ethiopian New Year commences on the 11th or 12th of September in the Gregorian calendar. There is a 7 or 8 year difference from the Gregorian calendar, seven years from September to January 1, and eight years from January 1 until September 11/12.
The lockal time – many Ethiopians use a different method of keeping time with Sunrise being 12 in the morning and sunset at 12 in the evening. Times are expressed as being “3 in the morning” (approximately 9am GMT+3) or “6 in the evening” (approximately 12am GMT+3). If you are visiting Ethiopia for a meeting or an event it can be important to confirm times to avoid confusion.
Adwa Victory Day – 2nd of March
Day of Lament – 28th of March
May Day – 1st of May
Ethiopia Patriots’ Victory Day – 5th of May
Derg Downfall Day – 28th of May
New Year’s Day – 11th/12th of September
Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Holidays
These Orthodox dates vary depending on the Ethiopian calendar and can interchange between years.
Christmas Day – Genna – 7th of January
Epiphany – Timket – 19th or 20th of January
Good Friday – Siklet – Varies each year
Easter Sunday – Fasika – Varies each year
Ethiopian New Year – Enkutatash – 11th or 12th of September
Finding of the True Cross – Meskel – 27th or 28th of September
Feast of St. Gabriel – Kulubi – 28th of December
The dates of Islamic holidays vary depending on the lunar calendar.
Eid ul Fitr – End of Ramadan – varies each year
Eid al-Adha – Feast of Sacrifice – varies each year
Mawlid – The Prophet’s Birthday – varies each year