Dear Tadias,
Thank you for sending me your magazine all the way to Ethiopia. I appreciate and love the magazine - menem ayansawem.

I have a couple of things to say: Your magazine should focus not only on educating Ethiopians in the U.S.A. about their culture and tradition, but you should also cover what is going on here in the homeland.

Second, it will be perfect if you could add foreigners’ views and impressions of Ethiopian culture and traditions. Finally, it would be great if you could establish a presence here in Ethiopia. Special thanks to your new editor-in-chief, Rekik Alehegn.

Eyerusalem Mengistu
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The History Behind the Ethiopian Calendar (By Professor Ayele Bekerie)

I read Dr. Ayele Bekerie’s article on the Ethiopian calendar in your last issue. The author says the Ethiopian calendar is based on the Julian calendar. Ethiopian and Julian calendars agree on holidays such as Genna/Christmas. Other than that the Ethiopian calendar is completely different from the Julian calendar. Julian and Gregorian calendars differ only in 10 days. In the 16th century, Pope Gregory corrected the date of the vernal equinox which was off by 10 days. The Julian calendar is not 7 years and 7 months behind the Gregorian calendar; the Julian calendar does not have 13 months. The Julian calendar is identical to the Gregorian calendar except for the 10 day adjustment to correct the date of vernal equinox. Thus, one cannot say that the Ethiopian calendar is based on the Julian calendar. They have the same roots but they are not the same.


Grum Ketema
Via the Internet



Professor Bekerie's Response
I appreciate Grum’s response to my short article on “The History Behind the Ethiopian Calendar.” The Ethiopian calendar is a unique combination of pre- Christian and Christian history. The 7 or 8 years difference between Ethiopian and Western calendars is because Ethiopians “started to count time from the date they considered as the beginning of creation, which was 7496 years ago (5500=1996).” The difference is uniquely Ethiopian and it is not based on the Julian calendar. Girum’s clarification is valid in this regard. The Ethiopian calendar shares certain dates of church holidays with the Julian calendar. As such, the Ethiopian calendar is not adopted from the Julian calendar.

The Ethiopian, Julian, and Gregorian calendars may have their origin from the Ancient Egyptian calendar. At first, the 13-month calendar of the Ancient Egyptians was universal. While Ethiopia adhered to the 13-month calendar, the Julian and Gregorian calendars shifted to the 12-month calendar.

Keakbrot Gar,

Ayele Bekerie
Ithaca, NY