Festivals

Enkutatsh (New Near Celebration) - September 11th or 12th
It is the celebration of Ethiopian New Year which falls every year Meskerem 1st (September 1st Ethiopian Calendar) or September 11th or 12th (Gregorian Calander) if it is leap year.

 

Meskel (the finding of the true cross) - September 27
Meskel festival is celebrated in order to commemorate the finding of the true cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. It was founded by Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, in 4th century A.D. Ethiopian Orthodox church celebrates every year September 27. The festivity goes on with chanting by priests, deacons and students from the school of Sunday and finally a bunch of leaves and wood is fired. The smoke is the depiction of incense used by Empress Helena to point where the true cross was hidden.

 

Abreha we Atsbeha - October 14
Abreha and Atsbeha (Ezana and Saizanathe two brothers who were converted to Christianity in 4th century. Ezana was the king of Axum Dynasty who made official Christianity after conversion. It is the finest rock-hewn church that was chiseled and carved according to tradition story in 4th century but scholarly suggestion 9-10th century in dedication of Abreha and Atsbeha. Very colorful celebration takes place every year October 14. It is located in the heart land of Tigray Region.

 

Hidar Tsion (St. Mary celebration in Axum) - November 30
It is colorfully celebrated every year November 30. The celebration takes place for the coming of the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia. It was also on this day the first historical St. Mary church was built with 12 sanctuaries.
 

 

Genna (Christmas) - January 7
It is one of the major religious celebrations in Ethiopia. Unlike many of the Christian countries in the world, it is celebrated in Ethiopia January 7. Although it is celebrated everywhere by Christians, the most colorful is observed in Lalibela because both the birth of Jesus Christ and St. Lalibela is commemorated.

 

Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) - January 19 or 20 on leap
Timket is celebrated for the commemoration of the baptism of Jesus Christ in Jordan River. It is celebrated on January 19 or 20 on leap. One day before the celebration the tabot, i.e. the tablet of wood or stone that consists of the Ten Commandments of God, which is the replica of the Ark of the Covenant, is taken out from the church and carried to the baptism site. The tabot is covered by embroidered cloth and carried on the head by the priest. On 19th early in the morning, the head of the churches bless the water in side pool and then sprinkle to the mass of people. Later on with chanting and more ceremonies, the tabots are turned back to each of their churches.

 

Kidane Meheret (the Mercy of Covenant) - February 23
This celebration takes place every year February 23 at Ura Kidane Meheret Church, which is one of the churches frequently visited on peninsula of Lake Tana.

 

Hosanna (Palm Sunday)
It is celebrated before a week of Easter. It commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ with the disciples into Jerusalem. People welcomed Jesus by spreading palm branches. The best place to observe this ceremony is at Entoto St. Mary in Addis Ababa and St. Mary Zion Church in Axum.

 

Tinsae (Easter)
Tinsae (Easter) It is the celebration of Jesus Christ resurrection. This festival is observed after 55 days of fasting.

 

Irecha (Thanks giving to God)
Irecha (Thanks giving to God) One of the prominent Oromo Society core cultures which is widely celebrated every year in September on Sunday following the finding of the true cross festival. It is the Oromo Society thanks giving to “Waka” or God. It is celebrated in Bishoftu town (Debre Zeit) 47 kms from Addis Ababa at Lake Hora. On the festival community, leaders and Aba Gadas address thanks to Waka for the blessed transition from the rainy season that is normally considered as dark to the bright and colorful season. Over two million people attend the celebration.

 

 

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