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Enkutatash (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 sir. The highlands turn to gold as the Meskal daisies burst out in their entire splendor. Ethiopia children, clad in brand-new clothes, dance through the villages giving bouquets of flowers and painted pictures to each household.

September 11 is both New Year’s Day and the feast of St John the Baptist. The day is called Enkutatash meaning the ‘gift of Jewels’. When the famous Queen of Sheba retuned from her expensive journey to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her back by replenishing her treasury with enku, or jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since these early times and as the rains come to their abrupt end, dancing and singing can be heard at every village in the green countryside.

Children dressed in new clothes dance through the villages, distributing garlands and tiny paintings. In the evening every house lights a bonfire and there is singing and dancing

The main religious celebration takes place at the 14th-century kidus Yohannes church in the city of Gaynet within the Gondar Region. Three days of prayers, psalms and hymns, and massive colorful processions mark the advent of the New Year. Closer to Addis Ababa, the Raguel Church, on top of Entoto Mountain north of the city, has the largest and most spectacular religious celebration. 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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