I experienced my first Ethiopian New Year!

On Friday night I was invited to the Hilton Hotel in Sandton by Ethiopian Airlines and the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to celebrate their new year with them. I was super excited to go! I didn’t know a whole lot about Ethiopia before the session, however not that I’ve been exposed to their people, their culture, their food, and their hospitality, this is absolutely a bucket list destination now!

A bit about the Ethiopian New Year

Ethiopia’s calendar begins in September and is referred to as Meskerem. Defined as the ‘gift of jewels’, legend has it that King Solomon of Jerusalem gave the Queen of Sheba jewels during her famous visit to Jerusalem some 3,000 years ago. Her return to Ethiopia after receiving the gift coincided with the New Year celebration in September, and hence the name Enkutatash. Ethiopia’s calendar consists of twelve months of thirty days each, with an additional thirteenth month in the case of a leap year.

Five reasons why I would like to visit Ethiopia, and why you should too:

  1. The tasty food: I’ve never tasted vegetables as delicious and well seasoned as I did at that festival. Each dish was more delicious than the next and the meat courses were out of this world. The spices they use are inexplainable. I need to visit Ethiopia to taste those rich flavours again. From the raw meat delicacy to an extensive vegetable dish, Ethiopias food is as diverse as it is flavorful and one you should experience. 
  2. The coffee: I’m a coffee snob and the Ethiopian coffee I’ve had is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I’m so happy they gave us a bag as we left, I’ve already had 6 cups since Friday. It’s deliciously rich, aromatic and strong. This coffee is a whole mood.
  3. Blue Nile Falls: I’ve heard this is one of the most magnificent waterfalls you’ll ever see, I need to see it for myself.
  4. The festivals: After experiencing the Ethiopian New Year I would love to go back and experience another festival. This is a destination that is filled with energy and good vibes,
  5. The wildlife: Ethiopia is home to the world’s rarest ape, the Gelada Baboon, the endangered Walia Ibex and the Ethiopian wolf,

Have you been to Ethiopia before? I would love to hear your thoughts on what to see and do there.


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