The Orthodox Church uses the Old Calendarist, (the Era of Incarnation, the birthday of our Lord) approach in
                       determining the dates of Easter and the other Church occasions that are dependent on the date of Easter.


















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The Ethiopian calendar (and other Orthodox Churches) differs from that of Europe and the countries that Europeans influenced through colonization or occupation and so on.

The chronology of the Ethiopian church follows the Era of Incarnation that is it dates from our Lord’s birth; there is a difference of 7 or 8 years between the western and Ethiopian systems. Because the Ethiopian church holds that our Lord was born 5500 years after the creation of the world this gives the 7 or 8 years difference between the Gregorian and Ethiopian Chronologies.

The church also uses other systems of chronology. There is the Era of the world which dates from 5493 B.C, which also differs from the western chronology by 7 or 8 years.

Then there is a system of chronology called “the years of Mercy or Grace,” a system which follows the great lunar cycle.


Scriptural background to the 7(8) years difference in the calendars according to the teachings of
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.


The difference lies in determining the exact date of the birth of Christ.
According to Dionasius, a Roman monk, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ was 753 years after the foundation of the city of Rome.
It is according to his calculation that the world joins the second millennium, in spite of the fact that, researchers many years after him have already discovered he has made a mistake by at least four years.
Their argument was based on the Biblical clues given at Mt. 2:1 and Lk.3: 1-3, 22-23. In Mt. 2.1, it was mentioned that Jesus
was born during the time of King Herod. The King died just after the birth of Christ. Meanwhile, it was also recorded that the king died 750 years after the city of Rome was founded.
The other Gospel tells us that Jesus was 30 by the time he began his ministry. It was also mentioned that this was the fifteenth
year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Historians proved that Tiberius came to power 765 years after Rome was founded.
Fifteenth of his reign would be in 780, ~ clearly showing a difference of four years from the calculation Dionasius has done.

One would ask, "Why didn't they make these corrections? Why so far? ".
One reason for this could be, that based on this calendar many historical records and other important dates and festivals have already been established. ~ Correction would have meant losing of all these documents and reestablishing the dates, which might have created much conflict.


The Ethiopian Christians didn't base themselves on historical facts to decide the date on which Jesus was born.
They used ages mentioned in many parts of the Holy Bible. According to their argument, God has nothing to do without reason.
He must have meant something when He makes mention of these ages.

If one contemplates on this he would draw a remarkable conclusion about this matter. Moreover, the birth of our Lord was foretold.
The time was also fixed. Jesus was not born suddenly.
When was it?   It is really a big question.
How did the Magi come to Jerusalem to worship the infant Jesus?
Indeed, they were wise men, and had the prophecy in their tradition that the King of the Jews, whose Kingdom will last forever, will be born in the holy land. It is also important to observe that the chief priests of Jerusalem were able to tell where he was born (Mt.2: 1-5).

They knew the date (Dan. 9:24) and place (Mic.5:2).
So we can be sure that there is sufficient information to fix the exact date just by following the stories in the Holy Bible and the prophecies.

From the St. Paul's, "When the time had fully come, God sent His only begotten son, born of a woman..." (Gal. 4:4) it was clearly indicated that there was a time period which human beings were supposed to wait.

This was, according to Ethiopians, 5500 years. The same was mentioned in the tale of Abraham.
This was a covenant given to Adam by God. When Adam was banished from Garden of Eden, he sought to get mercy of God.
God told Adam that forgiveness of sin would not be obtained by his effort. He then promised him, "When five and a half days are full, I will be
born of your offspring and save you".

Note that one-day is one thousand years with God (2 Pt.3: 8). When this time (5500 years) had fully come, Jesus was born.
Then the Ethiopian started to calculate this time following the pace of Biblical history from Genesis up to the time of Jesus the Christ.

The task was not so easy. It requires a good understanding of how the times were mentioned in the Holy Book.
It is presented below in a simplified form. The story begins in the fifth chapter of Genesis: (Gen. 5:3)

* When Adam became the father of Seth he was 230
* When Seth became the father of Enosh he was 205
* When Enosh became the father of Kenan he was 190
* When Kenan became the father of Mahalalel he was 170
* When Mahalalel became a father of Jared he was 165
* When Jared became the father of Enoch he was 162
* When Enoch became the father of Methuselah he was 165
* When Methuselah became the father of Lamech he was 187
* When Lamech became the father of Noah he was 182
* The flood came at the 600 age of Noah 600
Sum 2256 years

Now, we finished the fifth chapter of Genesis. Let us now go to the 11th chapter of Genesis.
Remember that here Shem's was selected only because Jesus Christ was in his line of generation.(Gen. 11:10)
* When Shem became the father of Arphaxad 2 years after the flood 002
* When Arphaxad became the father of Cainan he was 135
* When Cainan became the father of Shelah he was 130
* When shelah became the father of Eber he was 130
* When Eber became the father of Peleg he was 134
* When Peleg became the father of Reu he was 130
* When Reu became the father of Serug he was 132
* When Serug became the father of Nahur he was 130
* When Nahor became the father of Terah he was 109
* When Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran, he was 100
* At 75 Abraham went to exile from his relatives and faminly 075
Sum 1207 years
The grand sum will be 2256 + 1207 = 3463 years.

These above numbers are clearly presented and need no deep knowledge of the whole story of the Old Testament.
The remaining ones are found scattered so require a rather better knowledge.
+ From the 75th age of Abraham to Exodus 430 years
+ From Exodus to Samuel 513 years
+ From Saul to Solomon 120 years
+ From Solomon to exile to Babylon 394 years
+ And in exile 70 years
Sum 1527 years
These sums up to 1527 and 3463 = 4990 years

From here on the calculations are based on the verse on the Book of Daniel.(Dan. 9:24-25)
In this verse the coming of the Messiah has been clearly stated as 62 sevens'.

It goes, "From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes,
there will be seven 'sevens', and sixty-two 'sevens' ".
The first seven 'sevens' which will amount will be 49 years and the sixty-two others will be 434 years.
It is also mentioned that Ezra went to Jerusalem with the exile captives of Israel to build Jerusalem and the Temple at the seventh year of the reign of Artaxees. (Ezra7: 6-9). The first sevens will be from the issuing of the word to the end of the rebuilding of the temple.
Mind you, the temple has taken 46 years to rebuild (John (2:20) and the three year difference is the time when the Israeli were banned from building (Ezra 1:1-6 & 23-24).
There is one subtle point to understand here.
The sixty-two and the seven 'sevens' are not continuous.
The beginning of this is the seventh year of the reign of Artaxees king of Persia (Ezra7: 6-9).
This can be historically proved that it was the 76th year of the kingdom of Persia which includes the first seven 'sevens'.
Therefore, these 76 years plus 434 (=62 x 7) it would be 510 years.

Finally, we reached the point. This total sum would establish the 5500 (=4990 + 510) years sought.
The time God gave Adam to come to this World.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church based its calendar on this calculations.

Wosibihate Le Amelake Abewene
___________________________________________________________________________
For further knowledge you may read: "TWFITAWI HASABE ZEMENINA TARIKU',

By S.Meseret and
'YEZEMEN AKOTATER', By A.Gebremariam and G.Mehari.







~ OTHER SPECIAL DAYS ~ FESTIVAL

Saints’ days and other festivals have not been imposed by any law of God, they were established by the church herself. Some go back to apostolic times and others are later origin. There is a prodigious number of feasts in the Ethiopian Church.

The principal feasts of the church are
9 feasts of the Lord,
33 feasts of our Lady, the feasts of the Apostles, Sunday, Saturday, the feasts of the Angels, the feasts of the righteous (saints) and the feasts of the martyrs.

Non~Christian National Days
The following days are commemorated by all Ethiopians regardless of religion, race, or tribe.

New Years Day (Addis Amet) . . . . . .  11 or (12 Sept./Leap Year)
Victory of Adua (Ye-Adua Amet)  . . . .  03 March
Ethiopian Martyr's Day (Ye-Ethiopia) . . 19 March
Liberation Day (Le Nessanet) . . . . . . .  05 May
Revolution Day (Abeyot) . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Sept.

Days Rastafarian's Celebrate
HIM Haile Selassie Birthday . . . . . . .  . 23 July
HIM Haile Selassie Coronation . . . . . . . 02 Nov.
+ These days are celebrated by Rastafarians because it was due to Haile Selassie's coronation that made the Marcus Garvey followers turn to Ethiopia as the promised land of the Bible. Also the Emperor's acceptance and embrace of the Jamaicans and his gift of the land in Shasamanie Ethiopia for them to repatriate.
+ Emperor Haile Selassie also sent his faithful Monk Abba Mandefro to Jamaica to teach those in the Diaspora his Orthodox Faith and Practice
Quick Facts:
The Orthodox calendar has 365 days (366 leap year). It is divided into 13 months, 12 of 30 days each and an intercalary month at the end of the year of 5 (6 days in a leap year).

The year starts on 01 Sept. (11 Sept. European Gregorian Calendar) in the Julian Calendar or on the12th in the year before (Julian) Leap Years. The Orthodox Leap Year follows the same rules as the Gregorian so that the extra month always has 6 days in the year before a Gregorian Leap Year.

       Each year is named after one of the four Evangelists  
           ~   Matthew, St, Mark, St. Luke and St. John  ~
       (The extra day in a leap year is added to the year of St. Luke.)

The day of the New Year is called Kidus Yohannes (St. John the Baptist) This is because St. John was the last of the prophets and is considered a bridge between the Old and the New Testaments.
He transfered the Gospel from the Old Testament to the New Testaments and the newness of life and salvation.

The names of the months and their starting dates are as follows:

Orthodox Month Name / Start Date   / Start Date Leap Year
01.  Maskaram . . . . . . . . . 11 Sept.  . . . . . .  12 Sept.
02.  Teqemt . . . . . . . . . . .  12 Oct.  . . . . . .   12 Oct.
03.  Hedar . . . . . . . . . . . .  10 Nov .  . . . . . .  11 Nov
04.  Tahas . . . . . . . . . . . . .10  Dec . . . . . .   11 Dec 
05.  Ter . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   09 Jan . . . . . . .  10 Jan
06   Yekatit . . . . . . . . . . . . 08  Feb . . . . . . . 09 Feb
07.  Megabit . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Mar -
08.  Miyazya . . . . . . . . . . . 09 Apr -
09.  Genbot . . . . . . . . . . . . 09 May -
10.  Sene . . . . . . . . . . . . . .08 Jun -
11.  Hamie  . . . . . . . . . . . . 08 Jul -
12.  Nahase . . . . . . . . . . .  07 Aug -
13.  Paguemen . . . . . . . . .  06 Sep  -

~ MAJOR HOLY DAYS ~

The Incarnation . . . . . . . . . . . (Tsinset)
Christmas . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . (Lidet ) . . . . . 07 January  ~ fixed
Epiphany/Christ Baptized . . .  (Timket) . . . . 19 (20 leap)Jan ~ fixed
Palm Sunday . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Hosanna) . . . .   moveable date
Holy Thursday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . .   moveable date
Holy Friday(Crucified) . . . . .  . (Siklet) . . . . . ..   moveable date
Easter*Resurrection) . . . . . . . (Tensaye)  . . . .  moveable date
Ascension of Christ . (Ereget) 
Pentacost / White Sunday. . .  (Paracletos). . . ,  moveable date
The Transfiguration . . . . . . .  (Debre Tabor) . . 19 Aug. ~ fixed

~ MINOR HOLY DAYS ~

Sebklet (First Sunday in Advent / before Christmas)
+ This festival is held in commemoration of the prophecies made by the prophets concerning the coming of the Messiah.

Berhan (Second Sunday in Advent / before Christmas)
+ In commemoration of the fulfillment of the Word (Our Lord)

Nolawe (Third Sunday in Advent / before Christmas)
+ In commemoration of the Good Shepherd (Our Lord)

Yelidet Gahad (Christmas Eve) ~ 06 January
+ In commemoration of the actual birth & revelation of Our Lord

Gizret (Circumcision) ~ 15 January
+ In commemoration of the circumcision of Our Lord

Debre Zeit (the Festival of Mount Olives)
+ The second advent is to take place on Mount Olives.
So special wishful prayers for righteousness are offered

Birth of Simon ~(Presentation of Christ in the Temple) Feb 15
+ Simon was an old man over 80 years old, he was just, and devout.  It was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord Christ.  When Eysus Kristos was brought into the temple, Simon took him up in his arms and blessed God.  It was said that the old man immediately became young (30 yrs. old), for this reason this Holy Day is called Birth of Simon (Born Again).

Qanna Ze Galilla (The Miracle of Cana of Galile)
~ Wedding of Cana January 21
This is the first miracle of the Lord where He changed water to wine.

Masqal (Finding of the True Cross)
  19 Mar. (W) and 27 Sept.
+ In commemoration of the finding of the true Cross

+ Lazarus Saturday ~ April 27

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen.
  |     
       |                     |                   |        | .                                                      |   |    |    |  

EVANGELIST
    NAME
 

JOHN
MATTHEW
MARK
LUKE
JOHN


MATTHEW

MARK

LUKE

JOHN

MATTHEW
MARK
LUKE
JOHN

MATTHEW
MARK
LUKE
JOHN


MATTHEW
MARK
LUKE
JOHN

MATTHEW
MARK
LUKE
JOHN
  ETHIOPIAN
NEW YEAR 
  
  
   Thur.
    Fri.
   Sat.
   Sun.
   Mon.

 
   Tue.
  
   Wed.
  
   Thur.
   
   Fri.

   Sat.
   Sun.
   Mon.
   Tue.
 
FAST of
  NINEVAH


18 Feb.
09 Feb.
25 Jan.
14 Feb.
06 Feb


25 Feb.

10 Feb.

02 Feb.

22 Feb.

06 Feb.
29 Jan.
18 Feb.
10 Feb.

22 Feb.
14 Feb.
06 Feb.
26 Feb.


10 Feb.
02 Feb.
22 Feb.
07 Feb.

29 Jan.
18 Feb.
03 Feb.
23 Feb.

GREAT
  LENT


03 Mar
23 Feb
08 Feb.
28 Feb.
20 Feb.


11 Mar.

24 Feb.

16 Feb.

07 Mar.

20 Feb.
12 Feb.
04 Mar.
24 Feb.

08 Mar.
28 Feb.
20 Feb.
11 Mar.


24 Feb.
16 Feb.
08 Mar.
21 Feb.

12 Feb.
04 Mar.
17 Feb.
08 Mar.
   PALM
  SUNDAY
Hosanna

 
  20 Apr.
  12 Apr.
  28 Mar.
  17 Apr.
  08 Apr.


28 Apr.

13 Apr.

05 Apr.

24 Apr.

09 Apr.
01 Apr.
21 Apr.
12 Apr.

25 Apr.
17 Apr.
09 Apr.
28 Apr.


13 Apr.
05 Apr.
25 Apr.
09 Apr.

01 Apr.
21 Apr.
06 Apr.
25 Apr.
  GOOD
FRIDAY
  Siklet


25 Apr.
17 Apr.
02 Apr.
22 Apr.
13 Apr.


03 May.

18 Apr.

10 Apr.

29 Apr.

14 Apr.
06 Apr.
26 Apr.
17 Apr.

30 Apr.
22 Apr.
14 Apr.
03 May


18 Apr.
10 Apr.
30 Apr.
14 Apr.

06 Apr.
26 Apr.
11 Apr.
30 Apr.
  EASTER
SUNDAY
Tensaye


27 Apr.
19 Apr.
04 Apr.
24 Apr.
15 Apr.


05 May

20 Apr

12 Apr.

01 May

16 Apr.
08 Apr.
28 Apr.
19 Apr.

02 May
24 Apr.
16 Apr.
05 May


20 Apr.
12 Apr.
02 May
16 Apr.

08 Apr.
28 Apr.
13 Apr.
02 May
ASCENSION
  of CHRIST
      Erget
 

05 Jun.
28 May
13 May
02 Jun.
24 May


13 Jun.

29 May

21 May

09 Jun.

25 May
17 May
06 Jun.
28 May

10 Jun.
02 Jun.
25 May
13 Jun.


29 May
21 May
10 Jun.
25 May

17 May
06 Jun.
22 May
10 Jun.
PENTACOST
  White Sun.
  Paracletos

 
  15 Jun.
  07 Jun. 
  23 May
  12 Jun.
  03 Jun.


  23 Jun.
 
  08 Jun.
 
   31 May
 
   19 Jun.

  04 Jun.
  27 May
  16 Jun.
  07 Jun.

  20 Jun.
  12 Jun.
  04 Jun.
  23 Jun.


  08 Jun.
  31 May
  20 Jun.
  04 Jun.

  27 May
  16 Jun.
  01 Jun.
  20 Jun.
  
     THE YEARS
   East ~ West
(Ethio year changes           in Sept.)

2000(1) ~ 2008 2001(2 )~ 2009 
2002(3) ~ 2010
2003(4) ~ 2011
2004(5) ~ 2012


2005(6) ~ 2013

2006(7) ~ 2014

2007(8) ~ 2015 

2008(9) ~ 2016

2009(10) ~ 2017
2010(11) ~ 2018
2011(12) ~ 2019 
2012(13) ~ 2020
0
2013(14) ~ 2021
2014(15) ~ 2022
2015(16) ~ 2023
2016(17) ~ 2024


2017(18) ~ 2025
2018(19) ~ 2026
2019(20) ~ 2027
2020(21) ~ 2028

2021(22) ~ 2029
2022(23) ~ 2030
2023(24) ~ 2031
2024(25) ~ 2032
  Orthodox Holy days from the year 2001 EC ~  (2008 Western Calendar)
               and continues to  the year 2025 EC ~  (2032 Western Calendar)
     The following is a list of Orthodox Feasts, Fasts and other special occasions during the year
Igzee'abiher misle kwulikimu (The Lord be with you all)
The Ethiopian day begins at dawn and not midnight as is the case in most other countries.

The Ethiopian clock has 24 hours in a day, similar to its western counterpart. However, Ethiopia has shifted their clock by six hours so that the clock rolls over at 6 am - the start of the day.

This is an entirely sensible approach given Ethiopia is located near the equator and the sun comes up at the same time every day of the year.

To convert between the Ethiopian and Western clocks,
simply substract six hours.
One 0'clock ET is Seven 0'clock international
12 Noon  ET is 6 0'clock, 4PM  ET is 10 PM etc.
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Ethiopian Week Day Name  /    English Name

Ehud,Sanbete, Krestiyan . . . . . . .  Sunday
Sagna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   Monday
Maksegno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tuesday
Rabue  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Wednesday
Hemus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Thursday
Arbe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Friday
Kdamie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Saturday












  Finding of the True Cross
      Celebration (Masqal)
The Finding of the True Cross :

According to Ethiopian Orthodoxy, after the ascension of Eyesus Christos, the cross on which he was crucified began performing extraordinary miracles. This raised the ire of the people who crucified Eyesus, who then ordered the cross to be removed and buried in the outskirts of town. Residents living in the surrounding areas were commanded to dump their garbage on the site, and for the next three centuries the area turned into wasteland.

Three hundred years later, in the early fourth century, the Roman Empire was being ruled by Constantine the Great. His mother, St. Elleni (Helena), concerned about the plight of Christians, beseeched her son to allow the free practice of Christendom in her son’s empire.
The Emperor consented, and St. Elleni traveled from Constantinople to Jerusalem to look for the buried Cross. Once in Jerusalem, however,
no one could tell her the exact spot where it lay. It is said that she went into seclusion and prayed for God’s guidance.

As a result of her prayer, St. Michael the Archangel appeared unto her and gave her certain instructions. She ordered her soldiers and the local residents to gather a pile of firewood. After a prayer, a fire was set ablaze the wood. Clergymen doused incense on the flame and the smoke of the incense rose up towards the sky then arched down to the earth, pointing out the exact spot where the Holy Cross was buried.

Following this miraculous sign, digging began and commenced for six months until the True Cross was discovered.

This has been the premise of the celebration of “Masqal” in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Since then, clergy and parishioners have dressed in traditional, colorful clothing to sing ancient hymns dating back to the sixth century. A bonfire is lit up to memorialize the finding of the True Cross.


~ FASTING DAYS ~ There are 7 official fasting periods ordained in the Fetha Negest. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(1) All Wednesdays and Fridays, except for the fifty days after Easter, and also if the Feasts of Christmas and Epiphany falls on these days.

(2) Fast of the Prophets (Tsome Neviyat) 25 November to 06 January
The fast preceding Gena, 40 days. It begins with Sibket on 15th Hedar and ends on Christmas eve with the feast of Gena and the 28th of Tahsas.

(3) The Gahad of Epiphany, fast on the eve of Epiphany. Christmas Eve (6 Jan.) and (18 Jan.) Epiphany (The Vigils)

(4) The Great Lent Fast of fifty-five days. ~ Moveable (.Fast for Hudadi or Abye Tsome)

(5) Jonah's Fast of three days ~ Ninevah (Nenawe) ~ Moveable dates ~Commemorating the preaching of Jonah. It comes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the third week before Lent.

(6) Apostles Fast (Tsome Hawariat) Mon. after Pentecost & ends 12 July 
(Martyrdom of St. Peter & St. Paul) 10-40 days, which the Apostles kept after they had received the Holy Spirit. It begins after Pentecost.

(7) Assumption of the Virgin Mariam (Tsome Filseta) This fast is kept strictly by the church from 7 - 21 August.

~ ~ ~  See "fastings why" below for explainations
In addition to these, there is the fast of repentance which a man keeps after committing sin, it being imposed
as a penance by the priest for seven days, forty days or one year.

There is a fast which a bishop keeps at the time he is consecrated.
  • There is a 40 days fast for all new monks, which begins the day of and continues in seclusion.
  • Monks/Emahoys (nuns) observe additional fast days not required of the laity.
  • There is a fast of desire which a man keeps if he thinks he will increase his
         value in the sight of God or that he will subdue his body by extra good works. 
  • All persons above the age of 13 observe the church fasts.
  • The priest rarely grants dispensations. The man who ignores or neglects any injunction of the church is not considered good Christian.
Fasting Why's :
FASTING AND ABSTINENCE ~
Our Church, in her earliest days, recognized the necessity for her children to “chastise the body and bring it under subjection”, as St. Paul advises. The body is ever striving for mastery over the spirit; besides the external sources of temptation, “the world”, we have always another source with us which is a part of our nature. This is the reason for mortification.

Self denial is in lawful things enables us to turn with great earnestness to spiritual things. It is on these grounds that the Ethiopian church has strictly adhered to the injunctions of the Didascalia and enjoyed on the faithful the longest and most austere fasts in the world.

Fasting implies abstention from food and drink. Special days are appointed for fasting.
Fasting is not only prayer and abstinence from eating meat and meat products neither is it only to abstain until Noon or 3 PM.
When we fast we should also refrain from all wrongdoings, and evil things such as vanity, violence, jealousy, hatred, and all works of Satan. 
Charity is recommended, alms given to the poor and the needy, and gifts brought to the church, without these charities fasting could not be complete.  It is strictly observed by all baptized members of the church.  Some young people today do not take fasting seriously and say it is only for priests and old people, however many others recognize that it is essential spiritually to help them navigate the difficulties of modern life.

(1)  Wednesday and Fridays are observed because on Wednesday "the Jews took counsel together to put Christ to death" and on Friday He was crucified for our salvation.  Besides that, the apostles found it necessary to observe fasting for two days in the week for the remission of whatever sins may have been committed during the week.  So they decreed that Wednesday and Friday must be observed identically to the Great Lent observance.

(2)  The Great Lent (Abye Tsome, sometimes called Hudade / Day of Duty) is the longest fasting period.
It begins 8 weeks before Easter. This Lent is observed as a remembrance of the 40 days and nights fasting of our Lord Christ after His baptism.  Later the Ethiopian church added 15 more days to it.  Therefore the Great Lent consists of 55 days total instead of 40 days.  Only 1 meal is allowed after sunset, this is strictly observed by clergy and especially by Monks and Nuns.

~  The first week of the Great Lent is called Tsome Herqal (the Fast of Heraclius, a Byzantine emperor in the 7th century A.D.)
This was separately observed up to the time of Emperor Zara Yacob (1434-68).  Emperor Zara Yacob, who devoted himself to prayer and fasting in the beginning of his reign, combined this with the Great Lent.  The one week fast of Heraclius was first observed by the apostles who decreed that more days be added to the Lent of 40 days in exchange for Saturdays and Sundays, for on these days people are allowed to break the fast at 9 AM except for animal products. 

~ It was observed by all Christians in the MidEast, Rome, all Christians in Africa and Nubia and especially those in Jerusalem.  During the reign of Heraclius, the Christians of Jerusalem were severely persecuted by Foqa, who was governor of Jerusalem.  They wrote asking Heraclius to come to the Holy Land to avenge their persecutor.  Heraclius, was willing but expressed fear of the canon law made by the Apostles which states that: "Anyone who commits murder must fast and mourn until the end of his life." The Christians promised him that they would fast on his behalf.  
So the emperor agreed and destroyed Foqa the prosecutor.  They estimated that average age of a person ( 70 to 80 years), divided the days among themselves and fasted and prayed on his behalf.  Many of the churches that once observed this occasion no longer do so. But it is faithfully kept by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. 

~ The church is very devoted to the strict observance of Passion Week, which also caused the Great Lent to be 55 days. The Apostles fasted in commemoration of Christ's Passion.  All Christians young and old is required to observe the Fast of our Lord, the Great Lent. 
During Passion Week, no one is allowed to eat until sunset or until the evening stars appear.
During Holy Week, the sacrament of baptism, ordination, funeral services, and absolution are forbidden. 
However on Palm Sunday, absolution is done for those who died during Passion Week.


~ Maundy (Holy) Thursday ~ is the day on which our Lord in absolute humility washed His Disciples
feet, ate the Last Supper with them and revealed the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. 
On this day the priest brings water in a basin and saying the prayer of thanksgiving,
he washes the feet of the faithful. 


~ Holy Friday (Siklet) ~ is in remembrance of Christ's crucifixion an Epitaphion (crucifix) is made and passages from the Holy Scriptures
and other religious books are read. The faithful prostrate often sometimes hundreds of times in the day. Therefore Good Friday is sometimes called a day of prostration.  Towards the evening (around 4:30 PM) the faithful approaches a priest to be patted with small branches of olive trees, which
symbolizes the whipping of our Lord. 
                          Then the faithful say "Lord have mercy upon us" 400 times. (Ig-zee-'o  tesahalene) 
          and Lord have compassion upon us, O Christ (Ig-zee'o  me-ha-rene Kristos)

(3) Fast of the Prophets (Tsome Neviyat) is observed from 25 November to 06 January. It is called the Fast of the Prophets because the prophecy about the coming of Christ was fulfilled.  Sometimes it is called Yelidet Tsome or Christmas Fast because Christ was born at the end of the fast.

(4)  Christmas and Epiphany (The Vigils) On Christmas and Epiphany, the Holy Liturgy is celebrated starting at midnight until 3 :00 AM. 
If Christmas and Epiphany falls on Wednesday and Friday, then Tuesday and Friday will be fast days.

(5) Ninevah Fast is a 3 day fast, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  It falls at one time in January and another in February.
It commemorates the mission of Jonah and it is a fast of the repentance of the people of Ninevah.  They were saved from the wrath of God through prayer and fasting, so the faithful will receive mercy and blessings through this fast.

(6) Fast of the Apostles (Tsome Hawariat) starts the Monday after Pentecost and ends 12 July.  July 12  is the Feast of Saint Paul and St. Peter.  The reason is because the two apostles were murdered on that day.  The length of this observance varies depending upon the date of Easter and may be a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 40 days. 

The apostles observed this fast after the manner of Moses and Christ.  Moses fasted for 40 days after he received the 10 Commandments, but before he preached the Law to the people, and Christ fasted for 40 days right after He was baptized and before he preached the Gospel. Following this example the apostles after they received the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, observed this fast before commencing to preach the Holy Gospel.

(7) Assumption of the Virgin Mariam (Tsome Filseta)
This fast is kept strictly by the church from 7 - 21 August.
On January 21 Ethiopian Calendar, 29 January European Calendar, the Virgin Mariam died. 
The apostles wanted to bury her body in the gardens of Gethsemane, so they carried her body to the garden to bury it. 

~ When the Jews saw this, they were very angry and said, "The apostles disturbed us before when they said Eyesus Kristos was Risen and now they tell us that Mary is risen and ascended," So the Jews dispersed them and did not allow them to bury the Virgin Mariam, instead the Jews wished to burn it.  A certain Jew named Tawfania ran forward to burn the Virgin and when he grabbed the body, Angels of God struck off his hands he stayed there helpless until he died. 
~ At this time the Angels then took the Virgins body to Paradise, accompanied by John the Apostle to burn incense over her body, and layed her under the Tree of Life. When John returned and told this fact to the Apostles, they said to each other "John saw and we did not; let us pray and fast that we may see also." 

~  Burial and Resurrection ~
They began fasting from 07 August for 15 days, after which the Angels of God brought the body of the Virgin to the apostles.  They buried the Virgin on Sunday.  On Tuesday 3 days later, the Virgin Mariam rose from the dead just as her Son Christ had resurrected.

~  Assumption  ~
Thomas the apostles was not present to witness the burial because he was converting people to Christianity in other lands.As he was returning he was caught up in a cloud and he met the Virgin Mariam as she was ascending. 
Thomas became afraid and wished to fall.  Then he asked the Virgin, "I did not see the resurrection of your Son; why am I going to see your resurrection? " The Virgin answered and said " Do not be sorry; the others did not see my resurrection and ascension, but you have. "  She gave Thomas a sign by which she was known. 

This sign in Amharic is called Seven (not the number), and represents her glory and honor.  She told Thomas to tell the other apostles what he had seen just as Christ had instructed Mary Magdalene when He resurrected.

In Ethiopia all Baptized faithful including children above age 7 years old, fast and partake of the Holy Communion for 15 days, except on Saturdays and Sundays.   Many elderly people go for retreat away from their homes and sustain themselves on cereals (a grain) and water, while praying and fasting.  Young and old testify of miracles performed during this time.
                                                   Ig-zee-'o  tesahalene  ( "Lord have mercy upon us" )

  Fasting is prayer and abstinence from food to attain forgiveness of sins and reward of the soul.
  It serves to weaken the force of the body so that the body may obey the soul.   
  • Our Lord Christ has taught us that fasting with prayer has the power of driving away evil spirits (Matt. 17 :21)
  • During Fasting all animal products is prohibited;  meat, egg, butter, milk, and cheese, anything that contains these products. (Fetha Nagast).  However in true fasting the eye is kept from seeing, the mouth from speaking, and the ear from hearing evil things.
  • Fasting has perpetual relation with religion. The way it is practiced differs from religion to religion, however anyone who has religion practices fasting.
SIBKET (ADVENT)
The aim of the church is to cause her children to reflect. During the year she sets apart two seasons in which she imbues the faithful with a spirit of penitential fervor. One of these seasons, which is called Advent, from the Latin word adventus, (arrival), embraces about five Sundays.

The Law and practice of the church is observed strictly, though not so much as in Lent. It is a time for devout and penitential preparation of the soul for the proper and worthy celebration of the great feast of Christmas.
In advent (Sibket, in Amharic) a fast is kept, the Christmas fast of 40 days beginning on 15 Hedar and ending on Christmas eve with the Feast of Gena on the 28 of Tahsas -EC (6 January - WC).

GENA (CHRISTMAS)
Year after year the Christmas season brings to the minds of all Christians the story of the Child in the manger, the shepherds on the Judean hills, the Celestial songs “Glory to God in the highest”, and the Angel’s message, telling that the Long expected ONE had come.

Liddet or Gena is the Ethiopian name for Christmas which is marked by special ceremonies. The origin is basically the same as is universally accepted. It is celebrated on 7th January (Tahsas 29 E.C) preceded by a fast of 40 days. The difference of date is due to a calendar of discrepancy since the Ethiopian calendar is based on the year of Grace 7 or 8 years after Anno Domini. The Ethiopian Christmas coincides with the date of this observance in the Eastern Orthodox dispensation.
Qiddus Bale Wold is another name for Christmas in addition to Liddet or Gena. Gena is also a name for a Christmas game played by boys and grown up men (like hockey).
The total number of fasting days amounts to about 250 a year, of which about 180 are obligatory for all, and the
rest are only for priests, monks, emahoys and other special groups in the church.

The longest periods of fasting are those of Lent. Advent and Kweskwam (forty days preceding the fast of the flight to Egypt).

Fast generally implies one meal a day to be taken either in the evening or after 3 p.m. with total abstention from meat, fats, eggs
and diary products. Instead we use cereals, vegetables and other type of food devoid of fats. Smoking is a breach of the fast.

There is no fasting while Christmas, Epiphany, and the feast of feast of fifty days are being kept. From Easter to
Pentecost a man may eat and drink what he likes on Wednesday and Friday.
There is no fast if the Christmas and Epiphany fall on a Wednesday or Friday.

Special prayers are conducted during the fasting seasons. In all the churches we have daily services held from morning to 3:00 p.m. Priests, Monks/Emahoys regularly attend night services and they perform the canon, they remain in the churches praying incessantly, and in sadness  ponder and read their Psalter from cock-crow by light of a taper, and throughout the day eat dry grain and drink water.
FEASTING DAYS  ~ We never fast on Sundays ~ It's generally a         FEAST because it is the day on which Christ our Lord arose. 
                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1.  Tensaye (Easter Sunday) ~ Moveable Date

2.  Lidet (Christmas Day) ~ 7 January

3.  Jonah's Feast / Ninevah ~ 28th February

4. Saint Yared Day ~ 19 May

5. Apostles Feast (Martyrdom of St. Peter & St. Paul) ~ 12 July

6. New Year's Day ~ 11 September

7. The Feast of The Cross (Maskel) ~ 27 Sept. - 29 (3 days)
     ~  St. Mariam Feast. . . . . August 22 . . . fixed
THERE ARE 33 PRESCRIBED FEASTS of The DINGL MARIAM,
according to our Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
~ The celebration of Feasts of Dingl Mariam involves the chanting of many
Virgin Mariam Hymns and readings from the Book of Miracles.

+ 1 Genbot (9 May WC) ~ Birthday of Dingl Mariam (Ledata)

+ 29 May - 2 June -WC (21-25 Genbot - EC) ~ Virgin Mariam going to Egypt,
is traditionally celebrated with a large gathering of pilgrims at Debre Mitmag. 
The last day 2 June, commemorates the miracle when "her SON planted dry rods and
turned them into trees."  (Baza Takale Wolde Abatra Yebusene Woreseyomou a'ewame).

+ 15 JUNE -WC (8 SENE -EC) ~ We commorate the day The Virgin Mariam's SON split the
rock and water flowed from it to heal the sick.
(Bazaanka'a Wolde Maya Emgogueh Wokonomou-fawese Ledwoyan)

+ 27 June -WC (20 Sene - EC) ~ (Baza tegabeu haworiat wo woreda wolda lehens'tete)
The day when the Apostles assembled, and her Holy Son came to build her house.

+ 28 June -WC (21 Sene -EC) ~ Commemoration of the consecration of her house,
(Qedasse Beta), meaning the first church built in honor of  Dingl Mariam.

+ 13 August -WC (7 Nehase -EC) ~ (Qoeserta) Mariam Conception



* * * SPECIAL NOTICE HERE ~ DINGL MARIAM "FAST" not "FEAST" Assumption of the Virgin Mariam (Tsome Filseta)
                                            This fast is kept strictly by the church from 7 - 21 August.

+ 22-27 August -WC (16-21 Nehase -EC) ~ (Filsata Kidan Mehret)
~The six day festival of the Assuption of the Virgin Mariam.

+ 20 September -WC (10 Maskaram -EC) ~ (Ba'ata Seela) The "Entry of the Icon" of our Lady into the Egyptian city of Sedenya,
where it became lifelike and shedding tears and perspireing.

+ 1 and 31 October -WC (21 Maskaram and 21 Tekemt - EC) ~ Regular Monthly Commemorations.

+ 16 November -WC (6 Hedar -EC) ~ The "Entry" ( Ba'ata) of the Virgin Mariam into the ancient monastery of Debre Queskuam in Egypt.

+ 30 November -WC (21 Hedar -EC) ~ (Tekewama-Mahetot) Manifestation of the Virgin Mariam to the Prophet Zachariah, (zech. 4:2),
in the form of a golden candlestick.

+ 13 December -WC (3 Tahsas -EC) ~ The presentation or "Entry" (Ba'ata) of the 3 years old V. Mariam to the Temple
by her parents, fullfilling their promise to God.

+ 31 December -WC (22 Tahsas -EC) ~ (Ba'ala Dakseios) Commemoration of Abuna (Bishop) Dexius.

+ 6 January -WC (28 Tahsas -EC) ~ Christmas Eve, The Feast of Emmanuel (Gehna).

+ 7 January -WC (29 Tahsas -EC) ~ Christ-mas of The Nativity.

THE ENTIRE 15 DAYS FAST BEFORE FILSATA, is counted separetly, together with each day of a FEAST extending over
several days to arrive at the number 33; which makes The 33 Prescribed Feasts of The Virgin Mariam.
+++ Information taken from "The Ta'amera Mariam" (Miracles of The Virgin Mariam).
~ The feasts which come during each month are:

  • Trinity, the 7th of each month;
  • Michael the Archangel, the 12th of each month;
  • the Covenant of Mercy, the 16th of each month;
  • the Holy Virgin Assumption, the 21st of each month;
  • the Death of Our Lord, the 27th of each month;
  • and the birth of Christ, the 29th of each month.

The book Senksar is the calendar which contains a list of saints to be commemorated daily and their brief history.
There are many holy martyrs and confessors who are remembered. The angels hold a high place in the church.
They protect homes, Churches, palaces and all places of importance. Chiefs among them are St. Michael and St. Gabriel.
TIMKET /EPIPHANY/COMEMORATION of the BAPTISM OF THE SON of GOD

Timket festival or Epiphany in Ethiopia is the ritual of reliving the actual baptism of Lord Eyesus Christos in the Jordan River. This anniversary is the most significant one within the Ethiopian Orthodox divinity.
It is celebrated on Terr 10 of Ethiopian Calendar, which falls on Jan 19 or 20 (leap Year) in the Gregorian calendar.
It’s a three days long celebration which is held by Christians all over the country but differs from one place to another.
+++
Lalibela, Gondar and Addis Ababa being the most prominent cities, the most renowned place to celebrate Timket is a church in Gondar, Once King Fassiledes’s Castle transformed into a church. This sacred place is now the most symbolic of all churches in Ethiopia when it comes to the annual Timket ceremony. This is due to the fact that Gondar  it is the only city to hold all the forty four Tabots or arks together at this significant time. Furthermore the church consists of a pond within its complex, which serves as a re eminence of the Jordan River.

On the eve of Timket, known as Ketera, priests and deacons wearing colourful robes and crowns participate in the festive processions. The priests pray throughout the long night and Kedase is concluded at around 2:00 a.m. People in masses camp out, singing church music, eating and drinking sitting around fires and torches. Christian followers attend an early afternoon mass service.
+++
Followed by the actual Timket day the Tabots are carried by priests over their heads, where the Ceremony begins by the divine worship celebrated near the body of water early in the morning. After which the water is blessed and sprinkled on the followers. Many choose to submerse themselves into the holy water, thus emblematically renewing their baptism.

After the baptism the Tabots of each church return to their respective churches. They are taken back to their churches in a vibrant parade.  ~ By: Ethiopian Calendar