The Ethiopian calendar is the main calendar used in Ethiopia. It serves as the liturgical calendar for Christians in Eritrea and Ethiopia belonging to the Orthodox Tewahedo churches, Eastern Catholic Church and Coptic Orthodox Church. It is a solar calendar which comes from the Egyptian calendar. But like the Julian calendar, it adds a leap day every four years. It begins the year on August 29 or August 30 in the Julian calendar. A seven to eight-year gap between the Ethiopian and Gregorian calendars results from an alternate calculation in determining the date of the annunciation of Jesus.[a]
Like the Coptic calendar, the Ethiopic calendar has twelve months of 30 days plus five or six epagomenal days, which make up a thirteenth month. The Ethiopian months begin on the same days as those of the Coptic calendar. The names of the days are in Ge'ez. The sixth epagomenal day is added every four years without exception on August 29 of the Julian calendar. This occurs six months before the Julian leap day. Thus the first day of the Ethiopian year, 1 Mäskäräm, for years between 1900 and 2099 (inclusive), is usually September 11 (Gregorian). It, however, falls on September 12 in years before the Gregorian leap year. The Ethiopian New Year falls on September 11 of the Gregorian calendar. On leap years it falls on September 12.
In 1582 the Christian world changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.[b] Ethiopia did not make the change. As a result, Ethiopia is seven years and eight months behind those countries that use the Gregorian calendar.[c] Christmas and Easter fall on different dates than they would elsewhere.
- In the Christian faith the annunciation is the date the angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary she would give birth to Jesus.
- Different countries changed over at different times. For example, Great Britain and its colonies in America did not change until September 1752. At that time 11 days were dropped to switch to the Gregorian calendar.
- The difference between the Ethiopian calendar and Gregorian calendar will continue to widen slowly due to the differences in time calculation. When the western world celebrates January 1, 2016, the date in Ethiopia will be March 22, 2008.
- "annunciation". Dictionary.com, LLC. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
- Encyclopedia of Time: Science, Philosophy, Theology, & Culture, Volume 1, ed. H. James Birx (Los Angeles: Sage, 2009), p. 128
- "The Gregorian calendar". Time and Date AS. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
- Philip Briggs, Ethiopia (Chalfont St Peter, Bucks: Bradt Travel Guides Ltd, 2015), p. 63
- "Date Converter". GEBEYA. Retrieved 16 December 2015.