Is it really the year 1989 in Ethiopia?

I remember reading some years ago about how Ethiopia follows the old Julian calendar instead of the revised Gregorian calendar. The whole reason the rest of the world switched was because the Julian calendar was over the years getting more and more out of sync with the seasons. Anyway, I think Ethiopia was about 13 years out of sync with the rest of the world.

Is this true? If so, why is it so? Any chances of them changing? Will there be exciting millenium celebrations in another decade?

Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days, six days in a leap year. (Hence, the popular Ethiopian Tourism Commission slogan of “Thirteen Months of Sunshine!”). The calendar is about eight years behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar. The Ethiopian New Year begins on the first day of the month of Meskerem, which falls on September 11th on the Gregorian calendar.

Taken from

13 days, Alzarian, 13 days. Not years. ::rolleyes::

Ook! Simulpost!
OK, whether Ethiopia is counting the Anno Domini from a different year (which is entirely plausible) has nothing, nada, zip to do with using the Julian calendar. Furthermore, if their 1st month is Meskerem, in the fall, then they’re not using Julius’s calendar–in which the first month is January, in the winter.

Now, if they don’t lose three leap days every 400 years, their dates will progress out of sync with the tropical year–by 3 days every 400 years. The classic Julian calendar (used by the Orthodox Church) is now 13 days out of sync with the Gregorian reform (the form of the Julian calendar we use in the West).

You’re confusing two different things.

Well according to the link that airdisc so kindly posted:

"The calendar is about eight years behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar. "

So, then it would be the year 1994 in Ethiopia. I stand corrected.

It’s unfortunate that a lot of references call the Ethiopian calendar a “variant of the Julian calendar” or some such thing. It’s misleading. What they really are getting at is that Ethiopia still uses a simple “every 4 years” leap year rule like the Julian calendar, and will be synched with it. The actual structure of the months is quite different than what “Julian Calendar” is normally taken to mean, and, as observed, their base year is different.

A somewhat better description of their calendar:

More than you ever wanted to know about the Ethiopic calendar

As yabob points out, the Ethiopic calendar is not really Julian, although it has some features in common.

The fact that it is seven or eight years out of synch from the present Western calendar is entirely unrelated to the “loss” of days due to the different accounting for leap years, as foolsguinea says.

I thought it wasn’t that the Julian calender has different months, but that when Pope Gregory switched calenders, he skipped over so many dates.

Prior to the October Revolution in 1917, Russia still used the Julian calender, and the Orthodox church still does, which is why they have Christmas on January 7th, I think.

I always thought Ethiopia was 7 years and 7 months behind. In 1991 it was 1984. So what is the correct answer?

So did Ethiopans celebrate Y2K at the same time as us? If not, will they celebrate it in 2000 or 2001 local time? <ducks and runs from barrage of rotten fruit, veg etc :D>

<slight hijack>

A very odd statement on the page yabob linked to:


Where on earth did this writer get that from? The Hebrew calendar uses a completely different structure: 12 lunar months, with a 13th month added every two or three years to keep it roughly in sync with the solar year - and no “uncounted” days. (And while the first day of the seventh month is indeed a Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, there’s no rule that it has to be on “a weekly sabbath.”)

The main difference is the accounting for leap years:

From here:

The problem with the Julian system of leap years is that it assumes the year is exactly 365.25 days long, when it is actually slightly less than that. Over a period of centuries the discrepancy acculates until the months are out of sync with the seasons.

The ten days deleted in 1582 accounted for the difference between the two leap year systems up to that time. England didn’t switch to the Gregorian system until the 1700s, by which time the discrepancy was 11 days. At present, the difference is 13 days, which accounts for the difference from the Russian Orthodox calendar.

There is a rule that Rosh Hashanah must fall on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday.

There are three adjustments to the calendar that are made to make Rosh Hashanah come out right and to keep the calendar more or less in phase with the seasons.

First, an extra month is added after the twelfth month seven times in 19 years. (Note: Rosh Hashanah is the first day of the seventh month.)

Second, an extra day can be added to the second month if necessary.

Third, a day can be subtracted from the third month if necessary.

The latter two adjustments are used to make Rosh Hashanah come out right, and to insure that the following year will not need more than one day of adjustment in either direction.


Oh, and the first day of the year in the Julian calendar is March 25.


Ive seen plenty of pictures of Ethiopia and im guessing the year is probably around 1910ish there. Im still waiting to see some Model Ts rolling down a dirt road there any time soon.

Congratulations! You are the winner of the Incongruous Sentence of the Week Award, having successfully combined the words “popular”, “Ethiopian”, and “tourism” in the same sentence.

Enjoy the cookie!


All right, I’ll bite:

WHY is Ethiopia’s year 1994 instead of 2002?

Heck, if you like that, why not pop over to the Sudan, which at least for awhile enjoyed the luxury of a 354-day year, based on the hijra lunar calendar.

It’s their culture.

Jeez, guys, ever been? Don’t judge a whole country by some dimly remembered news footage - a lot of it is extremely beautiful and well worth a visit.

Oh, and by the way, it’s the year 2545 in Bangkok, and sorry to say the internal combustion engine is still totally dominant here in the 26th century… :slight_smile: