Ethiopian New Year’s Day, falling on September 11 in the Gregorian calendar (or September 12 the year before Gregorian leap year), marks the perfect season, when yellow daisies (adey abeba) start to blossom in the midst of the green countryside, after the long rains end. The sun comes out shyly as the rains subside, as if nature is celebrating the change of the year, as well. As with many Ethiopian traditions, New Year’s Day has a story of its own. The day is linked to the Queen of Sheba, her famous travel to Jerusalem, and what happened afterward.
When she got back, her chiefs prepared her a homecoming celebration complete with jewelry for her fingers, saying, “’Enku le tatash,” which means, “A diamond for your fingers.” This was shortened to “Enkutatash.” On the eve, people light a bundle of sticks, called a chibo, and chant, “Eyoha abebaye Meskerem tebaye.” On the day of, little girls visit their neighbors singing “Abebayehosh,” while boys give colorful drawings.