The Calendar used in Europe and most of the rest of the world is a 12-month calendar, which counts the years since the birth of Christ. It is known as the Gregorian Calendar (GC) named after Pope Gregory XIII and replaced the previous Julian Calendar (JC) introduced in 46 BC by Julius Caesar in order to correct a small gain in time. The major difference with these calendars is that in the JC the leap year is every 4 years, while in the GC the leap year comes every 4 years except for 3 century years in 400 years (thus future days omitted will be the century years (specifically: 29 February 2100, 2200, 2300; 2500, 2600, 2700; 2900, etc).
The Ethiopian calendar or Ethiopic calendar is the calendar used in Ethiopia. It is often called the Julian Calendar, but this is incorrect. Properly it has 12 months of 30 days with 5 or 6 ‘epagomenal days’ at the end of the year, which gives rise to the common description of it as a 13th month. The 13th month is known locally as ‘Pagumay’. It is based on the older Alexandrian or Coptic calendar, which also has twelve months of 30 days each plus five or six epagomenal days and is based on the even older Egyptian calendar. Like the JC, the Ethiopian Calendar adds a leap day every four years without exception, and begins the year on August 29 or August 30 in the Julian calendar.
Furthermore, its months begin on the same days as those of the Coptic calendar, but they have different names, that are in Ge’ez. The sixth Epagomenal day is added every four years without exception on August 29 in the JC, six months before the Julian leap day. Thus the first day of the Ethiopian year, 1 Meskerem, for years between 1901 and 2099 (inclusive), is usually 11th September (GC), but falls on 12th September (GC), in years before the Gregorian leap year.
The 3rd Millennium for the ancient Ethiopian Calendar began on 12th September 2007 (GC). This was a far more ancient millenium than the GC millenium celebrated around the world amidst fears of computer crashes and social catastrophe (YK2), and can be celebrated in a land whose history stretches back to pharonic times, and whose origins are shrouded in mists of time.
To celebrate this Millennium and help non-Ethiopians to understand the unique Ethiopian Calendar, Mark designed a stunning and fascinating calendar in 2007 which shows the Ethiopian dates, festivals and holidays on top of the Gregorian dates that we all use which was printed by Tourism in Ethiopia for Sustainable Future Alternatives – TESFA. Each year this has been printed, with copies available by July of each year as the calendar runs from Sept until Aug, which approximately conforms to the Ethiopian year.
Having this calendar you are able to see when the church is celebrating its saints’ days and when the other festivals are that are generally unknown to the outside world, such as Sebarea Tsemu Giyorgis, a festival in late January that commemorates the day that St. George’s bones where ground to dust! This is a colourful day at any St George’s (Giyorgis) church.
If you are interested in receiving a copy of the calendar, contact Tigist – firstname.lastname@example.org