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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Melkam Addis Amet (Happy New Year): Enkutatash or Ras Awde Amet

 
Melkam Addis Amet (Happy New Year)
Today, September 11 is Mäskäräm 1, the first day in the first month of a new year in Ethiopia. In Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, the word for New Year is Enkutatash* while in Ge'ez** the term is Ri'se Awde Amet.***

 
Queen of Sheba traveling to Solomon. A fresco ...Enkutatash is traditionally an important day to Ethiopians. When Makeda returned from her visit to King Solomon, her chiefs gave her enku, jewels. Enkutatash has since been celebrated in the spring, which follows a three-month rain season. It is a time to celebrate new life, rebirth, a beginning, new hopes and dreams.



Ethiopia and Egypt
The date traditionally is important in the ancient African Valley as it marks the the highest point of annual inundation of the River Nile and is recognized by Coptic traditions of the region as the end of Noah's flood. The Blue Nile flows from Lake Tana in the Highlands of Ethiopia while the White Nile flows through Sudan. They converge into one great river and its  inundations represent annual resurrection and rebirth. Realize that an intimate connection between Egypt and Ethiopia has existed from ancient times. Recall that even from the Twenty-first Dynasty the two countries were sometimes under the same ruler and so, naturally, culture, arts, religion and philosophy were effectively interwoven.  
In Egypt, the first month of the Season of 'Akhet'(Inundation) is called Thout. Today September 11 is Thout 1 on the Coptic calendar. The Ethiopian Calendar and The Egyptian Coptic Calendar are closely related and the names of months being the major difference. Both are derived from the ancient Egyptian Calendar





*Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ is literally "gift of jewels"
**Ge'ez is an ancient Ethiopian language from which Ahmaric is derived. Ge'ez is the official language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
***Ras Awde Amet literally Head Anniversary. This term is preferred by the EOC/Ethiopian Coptic










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