Happy New Year – እንቁጣጣሽ
On Friday evening, 10th of September, we will be welcoming Ethiopian New Year in Addis Abeba. After eating injera and wot dish we will light wooden torches called “chibo” in Amharic language. Chibo symbolizes coming of a new season of sunshine and new hope. It will be year 2014 according to the calendar used in Ethiopia and Eritrea, a solar calendar based on the Egyptian and Julian calendars. According to this calendar the year consists of 13 months, 12 months last 30 days each, and the 13th month, called Pagume, lasts for 5 or 6 time keeping days. The word Pagume comes from the Greek word epagomene which is supposed to mean “addition” or according to some sources “days forgotten when a year is calculated” 🙂 I personally like the latter, probably free translation.
This holiday is also called Enkutatash. The word means “gift of jewels” and refers to a story about the queen of Sheba. According to one version, she went to visit king Solomon in Jerusalem in 980 B.C. and was gifted jewels. Another version states that when Sheba arrived back home, she gave a gift of jewels to her people or in the third version she was given a gift of jewels by her chiefs upon her arrival home.
Meskel flower – adey abeba
September is the month when the long rainy season stops and harvest begins. During this time bright yellow flowers Bidens macroptera cover the fields around Addis Abeba and other places. These flowers are used as ornament in celebrations. It is also given as a gift. They symbolize happiness, new beginning and blessing.
And, of course this flower is an inspiration to ikebana artists. However, we have to wait for the flowers to bloom some time in the end of September. In the meantime, we can arrange similar flowers – here Mexican sunflowers.
Meskel flowers can be seen everywhere. It is used as hair ornament as well.
The city is preparing for the celebrations
The city is preparing for the celebrations. The buildings are being ornamented, the sheep, goats and chicken are sold for the family meals around the country.
Ethiopian flags are everywhere. Yellow ribbons and yellow baloons are