You could feel the anticipation in the air as Ethiopian Airlines, the new spirit of Africa, and the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia celebrated the festivities of the Ethiopian New Year (popularly known as Enkutatash) on Friday, 13 September 2019 at the swanky Hilton Hotel, Sandton.
Unlike the rest of the world, Ethiopia’s calendar begins in September and is referred to as Meskerem in the local language. Defined as the ‘gift of jewels’, legend has it that the Biblical King Solomon of Jerusalem gave the Queen of Sheba jewels during her famous visit to Jerusalem some 3,000 years ago. Her return to Ethiopia after receiving the gift coincided with the New Year celebration in September, and hence the name Enkutatash.
Ethiopia’s calendar consists of twelve months of thirty days each, with an additional thirteenth month in the case of a leap year. Although the Ethiopian Calendar has similarities with Julian calendar, the Ethiopian calendar is also different from the Gregorian Calendar.
This year, Enkutatash was celebrated on Thursday, 12 September 2019. Ethiopian Airlines and the Ethiopian Embassy brought the celebration to South Africa and exposing local communities to Ethiopian culture, music and mouth-watering treats on Friday, 13 September 2019 at the Hilton in Sandton.
“We have decided to bring the activities of the New Year celebration to Johannesburg. As we aim to forge a stronger relationship between South Africa, we trust that this exciting event will expose locals to the experiences of the land of origins,” said Ethiopian Airlines’ Southern African Regional Manager, Abel Alemu.