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Posted on on May 26th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Decision was taken at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, January 29-30, 2007, and is now being prepared as a declaration by the UN General Assembly. Its practical value will be to direct attention at Africa.

The US sees in it an occasion to “recognize cultural diversity, awareness of the unity of humankind, and of the development of intercultural exchanges.”

Ethiopian Millennium Link

Ethiopian Millennium Project


Addis Ababa, January 31, 2007 (Addis Ababa) – The resolution passed by the 8th AU Summit to celebrate the Ethiopian Millennium as African millennium is a great diplomatic and moral victory to all Ethiopians, the Ethiopian Millennium Festival National Council Secretariat said.

Addis Ababa, February 1, 2007 (Addis Ababa) – Chief Administrator of the Oromia State said the New Ethiopian Millennium would be celebrated by accelerating various development activities and in the most peaceful manner.

The Ethiopic Calendar
By Dr. Aberra Molla

Ethiopia has its own ancient calendar. According to the beliefs of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, God created the world 5500 years before the birth of Christ. It is 1994 years since Jesus was born. Based on this timeline, we are in the year 7494 of the eighth millennium (or smnTow vh). These are referred to as Amete Alem (]MT ]Lm) in Amharic or “the years of the world”. Era of the world dates from 5493 Ethiopian B.C.

Ethiopic is not the only calendar in Ethiopia either. The works of Enoch (hnk) had been in Ethiopia and Egypt before the times of Moses and on through the times of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba. As has been the case for Israel, Egypt and Ethiopia have had important roles in Biblical History. An Enochian year is completed in 364 days, Enoch 82:4-7 and Jubilees 6:23-28. More precisely, a 365-day-solar-year and the 365-year-solar-cycle appear as a 365-days-and-years single term. From the three books of Enoch, a curious 364-day length of calendar year lends new insight by reserving the last day of the solar year. Ethiopians followed the Old Testament before the introduction of Christianity (1 Kings 10:1-9). The Arc of the Covenant was brought to Ethiopia long before Christianity accepted the Old Testament and offered worship to God. The Oromo people have their own calendar. Bete Israel (bT asr]l) believe in the Jewish faith.

The earliest known date is 4236 B.C.E., the founding of the Egyptian calendar. The ancient Egyptian calendar was lunar. The solar Coptic (gbi) calendar, oldest in history, originated three millennia before the birth of Christ. The exact date of its Egyptian origin is unknown. It is believed that Imhotep, the supreme official of King Djoser C.2670 B.C. had a great impact on the construction of the calendar. Historically, ancient Egyptians initially used a civil calendar based on a solar year that consisted of 365 days only, without making any adjustment for the additional quarter of a day each year. Each year had 12 months. The heliacal rising of Sirius coincides with the arrival of the highest point of river Nile flood at Memphis marking the first day of the year. The new year of the ancient Egyptians started on Meskerem 1 (MsKRm 1). This date is an Ethiopian new year signaling the end of Noah’s flood. (The Hebrew new years also start in Meskerem. The Egyptian solar calendar consisted of 12 30-day months with five extra festival days at the end of the year. It should be noted that the chronology of 3,000 years of Ancient Egyptian history, by modern Egyptologists, was made possible only because the Ancient Egyptians followed the Sothic Year of slightly over 365 ¼ days, i.e. 365.25636 days.)

The connection between Egypt and Ethiopia from at least as early as the Twenty-second Dynasty was very intimate and occasionally the two countries were under the same ruler, so that the arts and civilization of the one naturally found their way into the other.

The Ethiopian Calendar has more in common with the Coptic Egyptian Calendar. The Ethiopic and Coptic calendars have 13 months, 12 of 30 days each and an intercalary month at the end of the year of 5 or 6 days depending whether the year is a leap year or not. The year starts on 11 September in the Gregorian Calendar (G.C.) or on the 12th in (Gregorian) Leap Years. The Coptic Leap Year follows the same rules as the Gregorian so that the extra month always has 6 days in a Gregorian Leap Year.

Ethiopia gears up for millennium party

Ethiopia’s former Tourism Commissioner, Yusuf Abdullahi Sukkar, promoting his country at a fair

© afrol News / UNWTO

afrol News, 15 January – Ethiopia is still living in the year 1999, according to its own calendar, meaning that Ethiopians can look forward to yet another millennium party later this year. And authorities are planning a magnificant celebration for citizens and the many expected foreign visitors; launching projects worth birr 290 million (euro 26 million).

The Ethiopian calendar is unique in the world, developed by the indiginous Coptic church leaning on ancient Egyptian astronimic calculations, the Jewish calandar and the Julian calandar – adopted under Julius Caesar and the root of all Christian date calculators. Europe in 1582 shifted to the Gregorian calendar, now putting most of us in January 2007.

According to the Ethiopian calendar, we are in mid-1999. Here, “the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 days and 6 days in leap year,” the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture explains. The Ethiopian calendar is 7 and a half year behind the Gregorian calendar, also having 365 days in a normal year and 366 days in each leap year, so the distance remains almost constant.

According to Harvard University Professor Ephraim Isaac, most scholars that have studied Biblical times agree that the Ethiopian calendar is much closer than the Gregorian to start its calculations of time around the birth of Jesus Christ. Some put this event in the year 0 of the Ethiopian calendar, while most historians hold the founder of Christianity was born in year 3 of the same calendar – or year 5 in the Gregorian.

While those wanting to celebrate the 2000th birthday of Jesus will have a lot of confusing dates to pick from, it remains clear that Ethiopia enters its new millennium on 12 September 2007, according to the calendar used by mosth others. And it also remains clear that the Ethiopian millennium party will be an outstanding event.

As every year, Coptic Ethiopians will celebrate the Enkutatash – meaning “gift of jewels” – holiday on their New Years Eve. The event stems from an ancient tale: When the famous Queen of Sheba returned from her visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her bolts by replenishing her treasury with jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since this early times and dancing and singing can be heard at every village.

But this year, festivities will be extra. Government one year ago established an Ethiopian Millenium Festival National Council. According to that council, “Ethiopia will welcome the millennium with a year-long celebration with nationwide celebrations, breathtaking entertainments, various cultural shows and tastes from all around the country and by engaging the wider Ethiopian public.”

The year-long celebration starts the night between 11 and 12 September this year and in particular aims at attracting visitors and co-spectators from all over the world. For those not able to visit Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Diaspora and diplomatic corps plan to hold celebrations worldwide.

Also tourism authorities and companies are strongly involved in the preparations. Dario Morello of Ethiopia’s Green Land Tours says that the country’s “advantages as a tourist destination” will be heavily focused during the year. Tourists will also be able to participate in celebrations in Addis Ababa and other parts of the country.

Among the events planned so far is a great Millennium concert on the night of 11 September, which will be broadcast worldwide from Addis Ababa. The concert is said to involve the participation of people from a various backgrounds, “including local and foreign celebrities.” Proceeds from the show are earmarked Ethiopian development aid projects.

Sports events will play a great part in the celebrations. Starting on 11 September, an international football tournament that aims at inviting teams from the world’s leading soccer nations is planned in Addis. Further, authoriies plan a series of marathons “to showcase Ethiopia’s famous athletes in track and field events.”

Also Ethiopia’s former Tourism Commissioner, Yusuf Abdullahi Sukkar, has been hillarous about the possibilities of the millennium celebrations and their toruism potential, promising “a carnival type fiesta.” While his plans were turned down, tourism authorities have made sure the event is well marketed, reminding travellers of the old slogan that they will become seven years younger by visting the country.

The main celebrations thus will be among Ethiopians in the streets of Addis, the countryside and abroad. Further, visitors may join Enkutatash celebrations at some of Ethiopia’s many medevial churches, where psalms, sermons and prayers are heard and torches of dry leaves are lit. Later, Ethiopian beer is widely consumed in rural areas, while urban dwellers stick to more modern drinks.

Plans for the official celebrations are still to be deceided on in detail, but the millennium council has already asked for a budget of birr 290 million (euro 26 million) to finance projects proposed to mark the new millennium. Arrangements proposed by individuals and businesses are to consume almost half of this budget.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in December promised the council would get the government support it needed to fulfill its programmes, although it is expected to get most of its funds from business sponsors, donors, lottery events and sales. PM Meles also reminded the council that its celebrations needed to promote development, peace and good governance for Ethiopia’s new millennium.

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