Category Archives: Leap

Merry Christmas / Melcam Gena

Ox stops the traffic

In downtown Addis an Ox has broken free from its new owner and is terrorising the traffic. (He chased my car after I took the photo!)

On the eve of a big holiday like Christmas, (Gena in Amharic) livestock are a common sight in the streets as animals make are lead away to become the next day’s stew.

Christmas in the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar falls on  January 7th, 13 days after western Christmas. However in Lalibela the church has ruled that it is Christmas on January 8th in a following the Ethiopian leap year.

An Ethiopian leap year has an extra day  on the last day of the year – on 11 September (as happened in 2015)  so the new year starts on Sept 12 and all dates are one day out until 29th February. The 8th January this year (2016) is the Tahsas 29 in the Ethiopian Calendar, which is the monthly festival for the birth of Christ. So in Lalibela Christmas moves in the western calendar date to stay consistent with the Ethiopian date (as with all holidays that fall from 11 Sept  – 29 Feb). But for the rest of the country the date slips back to Tahsas 28 (today) because they start counting from the date at which Gabriel announced that Mary was pregnant back in March in the previous year, and as she was pregnant for a fixed number of days … so the date is one day early every 4th year.

When ever you celebrate Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a good feast. Lets hope that Ox was not to tough!!

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