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Enkutatash - Ethiopian New Year

(Ethiopian New Year) 11 September

This festival celebrates both the New Year and the Feast of John the Baptist at the end of the long rains in Spring, when the Highlands become covered in wild flowers.

The Ethiopian New Year falls in September at the end of the big rains. The sun comes out to shine all day long creating an atmosphere of dazzling clarity and fresh clean air. The highlands turn to gold as the Meskal daisies burst out in their entire splendor. Ethiopian children, clad in brand-new clothes, dance through the villages giving bouquets of flowers and painted pictures to each household.

In the evening every house (in some parts of the country) lights a bonfire and there is singing and dancing.

Enkutatash is not exclusively a religious holiday. The little girls singing and dancing in pretty new dresses among the flowers in the fields convey the message of spring- time and renewed life. Today’s Enkutatash is also the season for exchanging formal New Year greetings and cards among the urban people.

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