Salambo discovering Ethiopia
Today is New Year’s eve according to the Ethiopian calendar. All over the city, people are preparing to celebrate the start of 2005. Live goats and sheep are on sale in the streets of Addis; they will be slaughtered tonight as families get ready for their big gathering tomorrow. They will light up bonfires and spread fresh grass inside and outside their house as a welcoming gesture. It is a time of national celebration as both Christians and Muslims party for the occasion. The rest of the year, they have their own distinct celebration days according to their respective religious calendar. It is also the time of the year when workers and employees get an extra bonus payment, to try to make up for the rampant inflation.
As I explained in a previous post about a year ago, the Ethiopian calendar is different from any other calendar in the world: it is made of 12 months of 30 days and one month of 13 days, and the year begins on September 11. It is seven years behind the international calendar, itself based on the Gregorian calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII at the end of the 16th century. No wonder Ethiopia feels different from the rest of Africa and to some extent from the rest of the world, as it moves forward on its own time.