Over the weekend, Ethiopians celebrated entering the new year of 2014. A week long activities are usually planned for the turn of the year in the Eastern African country with many people taking to notable activities such as church services, visiting relatives, family day out and journeying to popular tourist destinations. The question that non Ethiopians will ask is why, the country located in the horn of Africa is seven years behind the rest of the World?
The answer to this question is simple. The popular Gregorian Calendar was introduced in 1852 by the Catholic Church under the tutelage of Pope Gregory and with initial widespread rejection, countries eventually embraced and began using it. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, unlike the rest of the world, continued the old ways of calculating the passing of time with what has now become known as the Geez Calendar.. The Calendar contains 13 months with 12 of the months having 30 days and the last month known as Pagume limited to just five days or six if it is a leap year.
The Gregorian and Geez both operate with the birth of Jesus Christ as reference point but this discrepancy is only because of the Geez Calendar the birth year of Jesus Christ differently. So the new year falls on 11 September in the Western calendar, or 12 September in leap years. In Ethiopia, time is also counted differently with the day divided into two 12-hour slots starting from 06:00, which would make both midday and midnight six o'clock in Ethiopian time.
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