Ethiopian Festivals

Ethiopian has a number of festivals through the year starting with Ethiopian New Year which is the time of the Ethiopian new year which falls on Maskaram 1st or September 11. This is also the beginning of the harvest season which is a time of parties and weddings. The most unusual of the country festival Kulubi Gabriel, Sheikl Hussein, Gishen Mariam and Sof omar. Huge crowds arrive to pray for their health, for a new baby, for a special favor, for a good harvest or to give thanks for wishes already granted.


One important festival is Meskal which falls on September 27th and which celebrates the discovery of the true cross by St.Helena, the wife of Constantine the great. Vast bonfires are lit countrywide the night before the celebration and on the day itself, there are dance and fest for everybody present.


Once a year the Ormo people celebrate the Irecha around Lake Hora near Debre Zeit. This takes place on the first Sunday after Meskel and the ceremony centers on sacred trees, particularly around an ancient fig tree. Worshippers ask for favors, fertility health and good fortune.


Ethiopia most celebrated festival is Timket, the Epiphany, which falls on January 19th and is the easiest for visitors to witness and enjoy. The holy Tabot, a replica of the Ark of the covenant is removed from each church around the country the day before the celebration taken to a central area where the ceremony will take place. The following morning the church officials, resplendent in their gorgeous regalia, assemble around the Tabot and sprinkle holy water over all the Christians present and receive the renewals of their vows. After this is done the congregation follows the bishop’s elders and clergy as the Tabot is carried back to the church from where it came. The most solemn of Ethiopia festivals is at Eastern when the celebration include the sacred music and dance which is unique to the church, and later accompanied by the most solemn and moving rituals during the midnight mass.

Islamic Festival in Ethiopia

According to the Islamic traditions Muslims in Ethiopia also celebrate Muharram (Islamic New year) especially the 10th of in Negash; milad– an Nabi (Birthday of prophet Muhammad); Ramadhan (month of fasting); Eid-ul-fitr (end of fasts) and Eid Ul Adha (End of Hajj; the pilgrimage to Makkah).

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