"This wasn't a strange place; it was a new one."
- Paolo Coehlo

Festivals And Happenings

Feel the rhythm of the spectacular Ethiopian festivals; mingle with the people to connect with the local ambience. The famous religious festivals and events of the Ethiopian Coptic Church are colorful and interesting events to experience for everyone. The origin of these archaic rites, which are unique in the world, originates in the legend told in Kibra Negest (The Book Of Kings), a legendary saga in Ethiopian history.

Ethiopian Celebration And National Holidays

Enkutatash - September 11th

Enkutatash is the first day of the New Year in Ethiopia. It lays on Meskerem 1 on the Ethiopian calendar, which is September 11 (or, during a leap year, September 12) according to the Gregorian calendar. Large celebrations are held around the country, notably at the Ragual Church on Entoto mountain just outside Addis Ababa.

Meskel - September 27th and 28th

Meskel (meaning cross), in the Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox Churches, is an annual religious holiday commemorating the discovery of the True Cross by Queen Helena (Saint Helena) in the fourth century. Meskel occurs on 18 Meskerem in the Ethiopian calendar (September 27, Gregorian calendar, or September 28 in leap years).

Meskel celebration includes the burning of a large bonfire, or demera, based on the belief that Queen Helena had a revelation in a dream. She was told that she shall make a bonfire and that the smoke would show her where the true cross was buried. So she ordered the people of Jerusalem to bring wood and make a huge pile. After adding frankincense to it the bonfire was lit and the smoke rose high up to the sky and returned to the ground, exactly to the spot where the cross had been buried.

Genna - January 6th and 7th

Ethiopian Christmas. There are church services held on the eve of Christmas (6th), and colorful celebration within the renowned Rock Hewn Churches at Lalibela. On the day (6th), the congregation at the church of Lalibella spills from the pews in to the aisle where both males and females wrapped in white shawls, with edges embroidered mainly in red, yellow and green.

Early in the morning (of the 7th) there will be a breathtaking chant and dance of multitude of priests, the people sing with joy along the priests one after the other and among the swaying choir the priests raps on drums, letting out a deep boom and female's voice respond in a piercing chorus of ululations. You really have to see it to belive it, feels quite different, and unique!

Timket - January 18th and 19th

Timkat (meaning baptism, also spelled Timkat, or Timqat) is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany. It is celebrated on January 18th and 19th (or 19th and 20th on leap year), corresponding to the 10th day of Terr following the Ethiopian calendar.

Timket celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. This festival is best known for its ritual reenactment of baptism (similar to such reenactments performed by numerous Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land when they visit the Jordan); early European visitors confused the activities with the actual sacrament of baptism, and erroneously used this as one example of alleged religious error, since traditional Christians believe in one baptism for the remission of sins.

On this day the holy Tabot, a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, is taken from each church to a central area accompanied by priests bearing prayer sticks and Sistra, huge mass of keen believers and people singing with the rhythm of the church drums (kebero) and the rattle of the Sistra. Celebration is most colorful in Gondar, by Fasiladas pool, and in Addis Ababa at (Jan Meda).

When the procession reaches at the place where it rests, the Tabot is placed in a tent specially reserved for it where it remains during the night. People spend the whole night praying, feasting and singing. The ringing of bells and blowing of trumpets, and winging bronze censers from which wisps of incense smoke escape into the evening air. By next day there will be ceremony along with priests sprinkle holy water over all the Christians present and receive the renewals of their vows and the Tabots / Ark of covenant is carried back to the churches.

Fasika - March or April (movable)

Fasika, takes place in Orthodox Churches throughout the country, and follows the eastern method of calculating Easter, thus tending to fall after Easter in the Western calendar (some years both fall on the same date). Fasika is a much more important festival than Christmas, since the Death and Resurrection of Jesus is more significant in Orthodox theology than his birth.

Easter in Ethiopia and Eritrea is a day when people celebrate; there is a release of enjoyment after the long build-up of suffering which has taken place, to represent Christ's fasting for forty days and forty nights. People often have food and locally-brewed alcohol from fresh honey.

In 2014, Fasika will be held 20th of April.

"Don't tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled."
- Anonymous

The Great Ethiopan Run: Addis Ababa and Hawassa


The Great Ethiopian Run is an ethiopian-managed mass-participation athletic competition, held in Addis Ababa since 2001. Tens of thousands are running together with 400 professional runners in the streets of Addis Ababa.

International 10 km and Women's 5 km, Addis Ababa

Often called the world's toughest fun run, while some call it the best day to be in Addis Ababa, the city is celebrating in blood, sweat and laughter! This is the original main event since 2001, and always held in the last half of november each year, check out the calendar below for exact days.

Haile Gebreselassie Marathon, Hawassa

Held for the first time in october 2013, the event consists of several races; Elite full marathon, mass-particapitian full marathon, elite half marathon, mass-particapitian half marathon, 5 km mass-particapitian fun run and two runs for kids. Altitude of Hawassa is 1.500 meters.

Dates and time will be updated as soon as we get the information..

MAR 09 2014 WOMEN'S 5 km: Addis Ababa

The race starts and finishes near Atlas Hotel, Addis Ababa.

OCT 2014 MARATHON: Hawassa

The event takes place in Hawassa, the capital of the southern region of Ethiopia at an altitude of 1.500 meter (5000 ft).

NOV 23 2014 INTERNATIONAL 10 km: Addis Ababa

Main event of The Great Ethiopian Run, be part of Africa's biggest and noisiest 10 km race!

"You have to taste a culture to understand it."
- Deborah Cater