Ethiopia is very rich in culture and history and it is so palpable that people all over the world come to discover and experience its magic. One of the best ways to experience this is to witness an Ethiopian festival. These festivals are colorful events, mostly religious, and one interesting thing about it is that most of these festivities follow a different calendar!
These are some of the most sought-after festivals in Ethiopia:
- Meskel: A two-day feast celebrated starting in September 26th, marking the finding of the True Cross in the early fourth century. During this time, yellow daisy-like flowers (called meskel) bloom all over he hills surrounding Addis Ababa. People head to Meskel Square to celebrate, and bishops and civic leaders led the festivities. After mass is the breaking of the feast which is celebrated by eating injeraa which is a flatbread considered to be Ethiopia’s national dish.
- Timkat: Timkat is the celebration of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. Those who come to see this event get to witness a reenactment of baptism. This is also an excellent time for Christians to renew their baptism vows.
- Kiddus Yohannes: Otherwise called Enkutatash, this event is Ethiopia’s New Year. It is also their celebration of the commencement of springtime. But you know what makes it so unique? Ethiopia’s New Year is celebrated on a September 11. This grand celebration features annual traditions such as buying sheep and chicken to slaughter, grilling corn, coffee ceremony, spreading fresh grass on the floor, drinking Araki, eating dulet and doro wat, and of course, singing and dancing.
- Genna: Christmas in Ethiopia is called Genna or Liddet and you guessed it, it’s on a different date as they follow the Julian calendar for this. Celebrated on January 7th, thousands of pilgrims from all over Ethiopia come to town for this event. Starting January 4th, different ceremonies take place around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and many people from all over the world come to witness and experience this.
For more information, you can also read Ethiopian Festivals The Important Spirituals.