There are several Ethiopian holiday celebrations in the country. These vary from religious to national holidays. Therefore, we can see them as Christian, Muslim, and National holidays.
These holidays celebrated annually could take up several days of the year and Ethiopians practice their own tradition and activities during celebrations.
Since Ethiopia is a country where different nations and nationalities live in together , Including the preparation of food and different festivity can be diversified across Ethiopia.
Although there are some practices which are similar. In September in the beginning of the year with spring and the end of the seasons of
Heavy rain celebrated across the whole of Ethiopia.
Then consequently there will be Meskel still in the same month September which marks the finding of the true cross in the Christian society.
In the Muslim society, there is an annual fasting period starting in the ninth month called Ramadan, Id Alfatr one of the greatest holidays which demarcate and celebrate the end of this Ramadan fasting period. There are some of the Ethiopian Christian holidays and celebrations.
Meskel(Finding of the true cross ) Ethiopian Holiday
Meskel Ethiopian Holiday (Finding of the true cross) is one of Ethiopian orthodox major holiday and celebrated for two days at the beginning of September 26th this holiday celebrated in the colorful and large festivity.
It does have two occasions the first one held on the eve of Meskel Ethiopian Holiday called Damera to celebrate in huge religion festivity in the main city of Ethiopia Addis Ababa large rare fire built at Meskel Adebabaye, a place where most annual celebrations event occurs, then the patriarch of Orthodox Church expected to lighten the bonfire right after they
The quires from different Churches sing spiritual songs and the priest with full of colorful ceremonial cloths also perform Songs around the bonfire, while other priests are seen with traditional umbrellas which they used in churches, music instruments like drums and “Tsinatel” and ornate crosses.
The memorial of this celebration goes to Jerusalem that st Helena was adviced to light a fire which by then uses the direction of the smoke to point the place where the cross buried.
Small Demeras are also built-in villages and individuals of Christian homes. Families and villagers called Celebrate by lightning and dancing together during the night time. The next day is called Meskel Ethiopian Holiday which plenty of food and drinks are served at the believer’s house also some believers go to the Damera spot and use ton mark cross using the ash from the bone fire.
Ethiopian Christmas Ethiopian Holiday
Since Ethiopia follow Gregorian calendar Christians fall on annually 7th, It also called Genna . Which been told that it comes from the word Gennanna meaning imminet express the coming of Lord to free humankind from sin. Generally, this holiday began by a fasting period which falls for 43day before the day called Gena.
This fasting period is known as the fast of the prophets. On Christmas eve the main ceremonial activities hold which centers around local Ethiopia Orthodox churches.
Priests and deacons wearing colorful robes give services to the people Liturgical singing marks these services and people travels by foot from church to church until the light of announcing the coming of Christmas morning light.
Breakfast meal served in the morning a juice made from flax seed after returning home then the famous spicy chicken (Doro wet) served.
While cotton dressed throughout the country and other traditional food Cooked families and friends gather to eat and drink ceremonial coffee as well as traditional beverages.
There is also Christmas traditional sport played during the holiday season. This sport played by young men in the afternoon of Genna spent by matches of the genna and other Sporting activities such as horse racing.
Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) Ethiopian Holiday
Timket Ethiopian Holiday is another Ethiopian Orthodox Christian celebration commemorates the baptism of using us, Christ, in the Jordan River. Falls every January 19th (annually 20 during a leap year ).
This celebration could take a maximum of 3 or 4 days in some churches. Although the first day Called ketera. On this day, the Tabot will be carried, out of the churches to a special tent built temporarily to a river pool of water where the next day of celebration will take place.
There the people Gathered out from their house following the Tabot, priests, and quires move together with the Tabot singing and playing such traditional music instruments like drums and Tisnasel across the country.
Then after the priest stays praying all night which then attend in the morning by the people and some stay there during the night. The next day ceremonial activity start with Baptism .
After the Tabot of the church carried and start their way back to the churches Except the Michael the Archangel and which is returning takes place the next morning. The Ceremony accompanied by many people in the country wearing white traditional cloths Females and males and children and very colorful and diversified events.
Fasika (Easter) Ethiopian Holiday
The Ethiopian holiday Easter celebrated for 3 days in the country. After 55 days of fasting to commemorate the fasting of Jesus Christ after he was baptized with the age of 30.
Ethiopian Orthodox Christians don’t eat meat dairy products for 55 days and the 54th day is called Seklet always falls on Friday. During this day all schools and workplaces will be closed and Christians gather in churches to celebrate the day that Jesus Christ crucified.
The celebrations begin from 6 am and stay till 6 pm. Until then the week before that day is considered as Christians national sorrow day in the memory of Christ suffering for mankind sins in order to save us.
The next day starting from the night there will be prayer service until Sunday and some Christians who are willing not to eat nothing (fasting) from Friday – Sunday morning will go to church and involved in the prayer program that occurs until 3 am.
Then all go back to their house also others awake by the time 3 am and break the fasting with their family together by eating traditionally cooked chicken (Doro wot). The next day is Sunday which is Fasika (Tinsae) meaning the rise of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Families and friends gather to celebrate eat and drink different traditional food, mostly meat products, and beverages, coffee ceremonies, spent by wishing good, with love and forgiving
New year (Enkutatash ) Ethiopian Holiday
At the end of the Spring rainy season, Ethiopian celebrates the beginning of the new year and the feast John the Baptist since both falls on September 11th.
The new year also called “Enkutatash” means the gift of Jewels. It is back to the Queen Saba Kingdom Where she from her journey visiting King Solomon her chiefs welcomed her with Enku ( Jewels ).
As the rainy season end yellow flowers start to grow all over the city, called Adey Ababa which by these flowers used to decorate houses on the celebration.
Little girls dress traditional white cotton cloths holding drums and walk around the village visiting each house by singing traditional songs called “Abebayehosh “ which literally means I see the flower.
While little boys draw different colorful pictures on papers and start selling it by going to their neighborhood house early in the morning. Also In KidusYohannes church in the city of Genet in the Gondar region, the main religious celebration takes place for
three days with prayers, psalms, and hymns.
In Entoto mountain Raguel church another largest religious celebration took place. The eve of the new year is also celebrated by
lightening bone fire In each house.
Idd Al Adha Ethiopian Holiday
This holiday celebrated by Muslim Ethiopians commemorates the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim)to scarify his son as commanded by God.
They used to celebrate it by praying and listening to the Imam and Scarify Animals like Goats, sheep, ox then feed to the poor people.
Adwa (March day) Ethiopian Holiday
A national day which commemorates the victory of King Menilik II over Italy in 1896 at the battle of Adwa. It was a victory of Ethiopians which kept Ethiopia as the only uncolonized nation in Africa.
Certain groups of people march out the street to celebrate this day and mark Green, the yellow , red color of Ethiopian flag and dance and pray cultural dances . This humiliating defeat for colonialism was pride among all African countries and most African counties were able to adapt the Green , Yellow and red flag after their independence .
Patriot’s Day (April 16th ) Ethiopian Holiday
The national day commemorates the end of the Italian occupation in 1941, occurred during the Emperor Haile Selassie.
Finally, Ethiopian Holiday
Ethiopian holiday is similar to any other country except for its unique days and celebrations. Almost all the national and religious celebrations have their own colors and styles that diffentiates them from other cournty.
Religious celebrations usually begin after a long term fasting days and the anticipation of the final day of the fasting and the beginning of the holiday makes the process interesting.
On holidays, children usually get new chosths, gifts and more. Adults come out to meet with other people. Single men and women find a boy frined and a girl friend.
The christams Ethiopian Holiday and epiphany Ethiopian Holiday have been tourist attraction days. Many torists come to the cournty to celebrate the day with the locals and at the same time to visit other attraction places.
If you plan to visit Ethiopia, it is best to come on these celebration days. Although the traffic is high and the tourist number increases dramatically, the experience will be great.