Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy New Year!

We received the following email from our adoption agency yesterday - and I thought I would share it with you! Now you can say you learned something new today.

"September 11th marks the new year celebration, Enkutatas, in Ethiopia! As the close to the rainy season draws near, Ethiopians enjoy celebrating the spring-like arrival of their new year. It is also the Feast of St. John the Baptist.

The day is called Enkutatas meaning the "gift of jewels."When the famous Queen of Sheba returned from her expensive jaunt to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her back by replenishing her treasury with enku or jewels.

The spring festival has been celebrated since these early times and as the rains come to their abrupt end, dancing and singing can be heard at every village in the green countryside. After dark on New Year's Eve people light fires outside their houses.

The main religious celebration takes place at the 14th-century Kostete Yohannes church

in the city of Gaynt within the Gondar Region. Three days of prayers, psalms, and hymns,

sermons, and massive colorful processions mark the advent of the New Year.

Closer to Addis Ababa, the Raguel Church, on top of the Entoto Mountain north of the city, has the largest and most spectacular religious celebration. But Enkutatas is not exclusively a religious holiday, and the little girls singing and dancing in pretty new dresses among the flowers in the fields convey the message of springtime and renewed life. Today's Enkutatas is also the season for exchanging formal New Year greetings and cards among the urban sophisticated in lieu of the traditional bouquet of flowers.

When meeting friends and neighbors on the new year, Amharic speakers share the greeting, “Enquan laddis amet aderesachuh,” or, “wishing you all a happy new year.”

Looks like the Kyles will be learning about and incorporating a new holiday into their calendars in the near future!

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