Ethiopia is a holy land home to a vast and diversified people of varies cultures, traditions and customs profoundly cherishing and devoting their time to their respective religions. In relation to Ethiopian’s religions and beliefs there are several festivals celebrated throughout the Ethiopian calendar (Ethiopia has a different calendar than the West) in a bright and sacred manner. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church holidays and cultural events are very famous and sacred. Being a part of these ceremonies leave you with a heightened feeling of having a genuine connection with your religion. The celebrations of these holidays are one of the reasons Ethiopia is famous for. During these cultural events it is customary for most of the people to dress in traditional Ethiopian clothing. The following are among the most famous Ethiopian festivals celebrated
Ethiopian Epiphany (Timkat)
Timkat is the greatest festival of the year, falling on 19 January, just two weeks after the Ethiopian Christmas. It is commemorates Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. The next day is devoted to the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. From the end of the rains in October, the country becomes increasingly dry and the sun blazes down from a clear blue sky, so the festival of Timkat always takes place in glorious weather.
Ethiopian Christmas (Genna)
Christmas (Genna) in Lalibela is beautiful; it is colorfully celebrated because King Lalibela was born in the same day of as the birth of Jesus Christ. Starting two weeks ahead of Gena, numerous peoples from every corner of the country undertake the pilgrimage to Lalibela to attend the ceremony and to get spiritual blessings.
Meskel (The finding of true cross)
Meskel, the commemoration feast of the finding of the True Holy Cross of Christ, was inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.
Ethiopian Eastern (FASIKA)
Fasika (Easter) is celebrated after 55 days of severe Lent fasting (Hudade or Abye Tsome). According to Orthodox Tewahedo, Christians do not eat meat and or dairy products for the whole 55 days. Vegetarian meals such as lentils, ground split peas, grains, fruit and variations of vegetable stew accompanied by enjera and/or bread are only eaten on these days.
This festivity is celebrated on Sunday that comes following meskel. Irecha means, according to Oromo’s, Thanks giving day to their “Waqa “or God. At national level, it is celebrated in Bishoftu town in Oromyia region in Lake Hora Arsedi.
Ashendye is a unique traditional festival which takes place in august to make the ending fasting called Filseta. This event is mostly for girls and young women, which they await very eagerly every year. The name of the festival ‘Ashendye’ comes from the name of a tall grass that the girls make in to a skirt and it around their waist as a decoration.
Enkutatash, which means “Gift of Jewels” is the celebration of the Ethiopian New Year. Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of 13 months – 12 months each with 30 days and a final month with 5 days (6 days in leap year). The Julian calendar is 7 years and 8 months behind the Gregorian calendar, which is used throughout most of the Western world.