The rest of the world might be in 2018, but today, September 11, Ethiopians are celebrating the dawn of a new year — 2011.
Enkutatash is the first day in the new year in the Ethiopian calendar. Meskerem 1, New year's day, on the Ethiopian calendar, is September 11 or, September 12 on a leap year on the popular Gregorian calendar.
Enkutatash is Amharic for "gift of jewels" pointing traditionally to the return of the Queen of Sheba after her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem as mentioned in the Bible. She was warmly welcomed with an abundance of jewels by her chiefs and wards.
Gregorian vs Julian
Popular era makes use of the Gregorian calendar which was adopted by most after the Reformation of Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 causing approximately 10 days to be missing from most country's history. The Gregorian calendar makes use of 12 months of 30 days. Previously the Julian calendar was used, owing to Pope Gregory's predecessor Pope Julian.
According to Billpetro, The Ethiopian calendar "is a unique form of the Coptic or Alexandrian calendar, derived from the earlier Egyptian calendar which influenced the Julian calendar. On September 12, 2007 Ethiopia celebrated its bi-millennial, or 2,000 years from the Annunciation of Christ. Why is their calendar 7-8 years different from the West’s Gregorian calendar? In the West, the calendar was calculated around A.D. 525 by Dionysius Exiguus, a Roman monk-mathematician-astronomer who based his calculations for the birth of Christ on an erroneous date for the death of Herod the Great. In the East, an Alexandrian monk named Panodorus (or Annias) did his calculations differently back around A.D. 400 for the Egyptian calendar."
Enkutatash is celebrated as the end of the rainy season as the beginning of harvest, made known by bright yellow daisies all around the country. Many see it as a spiritual celebration with prayers, bonfires, flowers, songs, dances, gifts and traditional food. There are many festivals that are celebrated during this period and a funny one is the Fat Man contest celebrated by the Bodi tribe.