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New Year's Day in Ethiopia

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10 September 2013 by Rui Ribeiro

Today, 11 September, is New Year's Day according to Ethiopia's calendar, which follows the Orthodox Julian calendar and consists of 12 months of 30 days and a 13th month, Pagume, of five or six, depending on whether it's a leap year; the country is some eight years behind the global Gregorian calendar.

The date is one of the country's pre-eminent festivals. On New Year's Eve torches are made out of dry leaves and wood. The ceremonial lighting of these torches is accompanied by the singing of songs and then a parade in traditional costume to the local church. A family meal follows with the chance for people to catch up with one another and drink Tella, a type of locally brewed beer.

It also sees the arrival of good weather for harvests. After torrential rain, September enjoys clearer skies and a fresher atmosphere; the highlands teem with flowers and Meskal daisies burst into colour, making it a vibrant time to explore this fascinating destination.

So, Melkam Addis Amet (Amharic for Happy New Year)

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