Friday, September 11, 2009


...or Melkam Addis Amet, as they would say in Ethiopia.

Today is New Year's Day in Ethiopia, and to make it even stranger, today is New Year's Day 2002 in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia still follows the Orthodox Julian calendar which consists of 12 months of 30 days and a 13th month, Pagume, of five or six days, depending on whether or not it is a leap year. The Ethiopian calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian calendar, so September 2009 is Meskerem 2002 in Ethiopia.

Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year) is an important festival in the lives of Ethiopians. After three months of heavy rains the sun comes out creating a beautiful clear fresh atmosphere. The highland fields turn to gold as the Meskal daisies burst into flower. When Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, returned to Ethiopia after her famous visit to King Solomon, her chiefs welcomed her forward by giving her "enku" or jewels. Enkutatash, which means "gift of jewels", has been celebrated ever since in spring. Meskerem is seen as a month of transition from the old year to the new. It is a time to express hopes and dreams for the future.

Who knew writing this blog would have been so educational for me, and hopefully those of you who are reading this.

So take a moment today and join us in the celebration. Enkutatash doesn't come with college football or even a day off of work, that will come in a few months, but it does come with a great opportunity to keep Parker's heritage strong. As we were told in Ethiopia by many people, don't let him forget Ethiopia, and we won't. Ethiopia is alive and well in the Ritzmann household.

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