Ethiopia: a country seven years behind the rest of the world

by Aishwarya

1 November 2022

What if I say that, you can go back in time? Back in time, that too seven years back in time than the rest of the world. That’s unbelievable, right? Well, that’s possible if you plan to travel to Ethiopia. 


Yes, you read that right. Ethiopia is an African country known for its unique calendar system. The Ethiopian calendar has not only twelve months but, it has thirteen months. It has 12 months of 30 days each and the last month is called “Pagume”- which has five days to it. The month of Pagume has six days in a leap year which comes every four years. Ethiopia’s calendar is derived from the idea that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for seven years before they were expelled for their sins. They were promised to be saved by god, and after 5,500 years- the promise was fulfilled. Ethiopians call their calculating method as “Bahere Hasab” which translates to “sea of thoughts”. This calculating method calculates even Jesus Christ’s birth differently. The Catholic Church amended its calculation in 500 AD, but the Ethiopian Church kept it unchanged.





You might be wondering, as of which year are they currently living in? According to the Ethiopian calendar, they are living in the year 2014. You will find it even more unique that they celebrate their New Year on the 11th of September. On the leap years, they celebrate it on the 12th of September. They call their New Year “Enkutatash”, where families celebrate and children receive gifts. A special meal is also prepared and a Coffee Ceremony is held- which lasts for hours. Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee and hence, is a heaven for coffee lovers. 


It is mind-boggling that Ethiopia has a different time system too. You are already feeling alien, I know. Ethiopia has a 12-hour system, where the day starts at six in the morning and ends at six in the evening. So, it's a dawn to dusk and, a dusk to dawn system, where both midday and midnight are at six. It is also to be noted that the Ethiopian calendar is greatly influenced by biblical anecdotes. The first day of the week is called “Ehud”, which means “the first day” in the ancient Ge’ez language- which is the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Church. According to the Ethiopian calculations, they have 365 days and 6 hours, 2 minutes and 24 seconds. Once in 600 years, two minutes and twenty-four seconds add up to the day and form a seventh day- known as Rena Mealt and Rena Lelit.





Moreover, every 600 years, a unique star called Aqede comes out and shadows the sun causing a full solar eclipse. Now, the internet is amused by this fact and is reacting in many ways. Many consider it to be cool, some creepy and some even philosophically call time travel. Amusement would be a small word to describe the reaction of the netizens. You and I are from the same world as Ethiopia is. Ethiopia makes us wonder, if time is actually, just an illusion. What do you think? 





Well, now many of you will be convinced to visit Ethiopia for a much-needed retreat (Read: time travel). For the ones who aren't, have some other reasons for visiting Ethiopia too. The arid plains, majestic mountains, lush greens, scenic lakes; ask for it and you have it. Let me also mention the majestic, 150ft, Blue Nile Falls for the win. Travel makes us wander and wonder, maybe that’s why we love traveling so much. On to the next destination, as our hearts keep wandering through the timelines. 




You might be wondering, as of which year are they currently living in? According to the Ethiopian calendar, they are living in the year 2014.



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