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Happy New Year Ethiopia!

Arguably the most significant time of year in Ethiopia for all Ethiopians is ‘Ethiopian New Year’, - celebrated on September 11 as ‘Enkutatash’ meaning, “gift of jewels” in Amharic language.

The story goes back almost 3,000 years to the Queen of Sheba of ancient Ethiopia who was returning from visiting King Solomon of Israel in Jerusalem. She had gifted King Solomon with 120 talents of gold (4.5 tons) as well as a large amount of unique spices and jewels. When the Queen returned to Ethiopia her chiefs welcomed her with Enku, or jewels, to replenish her treasury.

Modern day Ethiopia celebrates ‘Enkutatash’ as a formal greeting across all religions, Ethiopian new year is one of the only celebrations where all Ethiopians participate. The house is decorated with Addis Abeba flowers and 'Doro Wot' (Chicken stew) is most commonly served for lunch and dinner with 'Tej' (traditional honey wine).

This marks the end of the long rainy season and you start to see the countryside covered with yellow daisies. It is a holiday typically spent indoors. Families visit friends. Young children receive small gifts of money or bread after the girls gather flowers and sing and boys paint pictures of saints.

Melkam Addis Amet 2010 all Ethiopians at home and abroad!

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© 2016 by The Ethiopia Experience.