Ethiopian Culture

Dates of Significance

Primary Author
Nina Evason,

National Holidays

  • Adwa Victory Day – 2nd of March
  • Day of Lament – 28th of March
  • May Day – 1st of May
  • Ethiopia Patriots’ Victory Day – 5th of May
  • Derg Downfall Day – 28th of May
  • New Year’s Day – 11th or 12th of September


Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Holidays

These Coptic dates vary depending on the Ethiopian calendar and can interchange between years.

  • Christmas Day (Genna) – 7th of January
  • Epiphany (Timket) – 19th or 20th of January
  • Good Friday (Siklet) – Varies each year
  • Easter Sunday (Fasika) – Varies each year
  • Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash) – 11th or 12th of September
  • Finding of the True Cross (Meskel) – 27th or 28th of September
  • Feast of St. Gabriel (Kulubi) – 28th of December


Muslim Holidays

The dates of Islamic holidays vary depending on the Islamic lunar calendar.


Time and Date

Ethiopia uses its own calendar which divides the year into 12 months of 30 days each, with the remaining five (or six days in a leap year) constituting a short 13th month of Pagme. The Ethiopian New Year commences on the 11th or 12th of September in the Gregorian calendar. There is a 7 or 8 year difference from the Gregorian calendar, seven years from September to January 1, and eight years from January 1 until September 11/12.

Locally, many Ethiopians use a different method of keeping time with Sunrise being 12 in the morning and sunset at 12 in the evening. Times are expressed as being "3 in the morning" (approximately 9am GMT+3) or "6 in the evening" (approximately 12am GMT+3). If you are visiting Ethiopia for a meeting or an event it can be important to confirm times to avoid confusion.

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