Ethiopian Calendar

Find out about the Ethiopian Calendar and its origin. From how it works to the conversion of Ethiopian dates, everything you need to know about it

ethiopian calendarThe Ethiopian Calendar is the main calendar used in Ethiopia and, in terms of Astronomical Calendars, is sidereal.

Forming part of our Religious Calendars section, the Ethiopian Calendar is based on the Coptic, also known as the Egyptian, Calendar. Although it differs from the Coptic Calendar in regard to Saint´s Days, the Ethiopian Calendar is similar to the Coptic structure in that it runs between 7 and 8 years behind the Gregorian Calendar. The discrepancy in dates results from ambiguity as to the date of the World´s Creation as supported by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

How does the Ethiopian Calendar work?

Comprising of 12 months, each with a total of 30 days, the Ethiopian Calendar also has five epagomenal days within a year which, making a thirteenth month, are counted as public holidays.

Every four years, the Ethiopian Calendar includes a sixth epagomenal day (which is the term given to days that fall outside a regular month) on 29th August according to the Julian Calendar which is a whole six months before the Julian Leap Day.

Therefore, the first day of the Ethiopian year, called 1 Mäskäräm, is often 11th September in the Gregorian Calendar but, in the years preceding the Gregorian leap year, falls on 12th September.

Due to differing calculations in determining the date of the Annunciation of Jesus, there is a seven to eight year gap between the commonly used Gregorian Calendar and the Ethiopian Calendar. In the Ethiopian Calendar, the year 2007 is equivalent to the year 2014 according to the Gregorian Calendar.

Months in the Ethiopian Calendar

According to the Ethiopian Calendar, the first month of the year is September and the final month (the thirteenth), called Pagumiene, falls after August. Every month has a total of 30 days with the exception of Pagumiene which has only 5 days (6 days during a leap year).

The table below shows the months according to the Ethiopian Calendar but these dates are only valid between March 1900 and February 2100 given that 1900 and 2100 are not leap years in the Gregorian Calendar. As these dates remain leap years in the Ethiopian Calendar, the years preceding 1900 and following 2100 will no longer be synchronized with the Gregorian Calendar.

Ge’ez, Amharic, and Tigrinya(with Tigrinya suffixes in parentheses) Coptic Julian(Old Calendar)Start Date GregorianStart Date[From March 1900 to February 2100] Gregorian Start Datein Year after Ethiopian Leap Day
Mäskäräm (መስከረም) Tut (Thout) August 29 September 11 September 12
Ṭəqəmt(i) (ጥቅምት) Babah (Paopi) September 28 October 11 October 12
Ḫədar (ኅዳር) Hatur (Hathor) October 28 November 10 November 11
Taḫśaś ( ታኅሣሥ) Kiyahk (Koiak) November 27 December 10 December 11
Ṭərr(i) (ጥር) Tubah (Tobi) December 27 January 9 January 10
Yäkatit (Tn. Läkatit) (የካቲት) Amshir (Meshir) January 26 February 8 February 9
Mägabit (መጋቢት) Baramhat (Paremhat) February 25 March 10 March 10
Miyazya (ሚያዝያ) Baramundah (Paremoude) March 27 April 9 April 9
Gənbot (ግንቦት) Bashans (Pashons) April 26 May 9 May 9
Säne (ሰኔ) Ba’unah (Paoni) May 26 June 8 June 8
Ḥamle (ሐምሌ) Abib (Epip) June 25 July 8 July 8
Nähase (ነሐሴ) Misra (Mesori) July 25 August 7 August 7
Ṗagʷəmen/Ṗagume (ጳጐሜን/ጳጉሜ) Nasi (Pi Kogi Enavot) August 24 September 6 September 6

Ethiopian New Year

In Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, the word for New Year is Enkutatash. The Ethiopian New Year takes place on 11th September according to the Gregorian Calendar (1st September in the Ethiopian Calendar), except on the occurrence of Leap Years when Enkutatash occurs on 12th September.

The Ethiopian year 1998Amätä Məhrät (“Year of Mercy”) began on September 11, 2005 according to the Gregorian Calendar.

The Ethiopian leap year occurs every four years with no exceptions, whereas Gregorian centurial years are only counted as leap years when divisible by 400, therefore a series of corresponding dates will more often than not be applicable for a single century. Given that the Gregorian year 2000 is a leap year, the current correspondence will last for a total of two centuries instead.

Ethiopian Holidays Calendar

In the table below, the major public Holidays celebrated in Ethiopia are shown in the Ethiopian Holidays Calendar.

Date (GREGORIAN CALENDAR) Ethiopian public holiday
January 7 Ethiopian Christmas (Genna)
January 19 Ethiopian Epiphany (Timkat)
March 2 Victory of Adwa Day
March 13 Id Al Fitir (End of Ramadan)
April 6 Patriots Victory Day
April 17 Id Al Adha (Arafa)
April 25 Ethiopian Good Friday
April 27 Ethiopian Easter (Fasika)
May 28 Downfall of the Dergue (Since 1991)
July 17 Birth of Prophet Mohammed (Moulid)
Sepember 11 Ethiopian New Year (Enqutatash)
September 27 Feast of the True Cross (Meskal)