Celebrations in Ethiopia are great and colorful events, mostly religious, and frequently take place over several days. Important Christian holidays include Meskal, Christmas, Timkat, Kiddus Yohannes and Easter. Timkat, which marks Christ's baptism, is the most colorful event of the year.  In September, the two-day feast of Meskal marks the finding of the True Cross.  Kiddus Yohannes, New Year's Day comes on September 11, which coincides with the end of the season of heavy rains and the beginning of spring. 

The Major Christians Festivals are listed below. Please select to view details of the Events

ENKUTATASH - Ethiopian New Year (September 11th)

This festival celebrates both the New Year and the Feast of John the Baptist at the end of the long spring rains, when the Highlands are covered with wild flowers. Ethiopian children, clad in brand-new clothes, dance through the villages giving bouquets of flowers and painted pictures to each household. 

MESKEL - Finding of the True Cross (September 26th and 27th)

Meskel, one of the major Ethiopian Orthodox festivals is celebrated for two days beginning September 26th. Legend has it that in the year 326, Queen Helena (Empress Helen) the Mother of Constantine the Great, discovered the cross upon which Christ was crucified. Unable to find the Holy Sepulchre, she prayed for help and was directed by the smoke from a burning fire as to where the cross was buried.

Genna - Ethiopian Christmas (7 January)

The Ethiopian name given to Christmas is Ledet or Genna which, according to elders, comes from the word Gennana, meaning "imminent" to express the coming of the Lord and the freeing of mankind from sin. Genna is also the name given to a hockey-like ball game. Legend has it that when shepherds heard of the birth of Christ they rejoiced and started playing the game with their sticks.

TIMKAT- Ethiopian Epiphany (January 19th or 20th)

Celebrating the Baptism of Christ, every January 19th (January 20 during leap year), Timkat is the greatest colorful festival of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia. It celebrates the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. Timkat is a three-day affair and all the ceremonies are conducted with great pomp.