Ethiopians world over are celebrating their new year 2016 with music, special meals, family gatherings, and unique traditions.
The head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis took to twitter to wish Ethiopians “fraternal love and peace” as they celebrate the new year.
“Today, the dear Ethiopian people celebrate their traditional New Year. I would like to extend my warmest best wishes to the entire population, in the hope they will be blessed with the gifts of fraternal reconciliation and peace,” Pope Francis tweeted on Tuesday.
The Ethiopian New Year, dubbed Enkutatash, has a rich cultural history dating back to the days of Queen Sheba. In fact, the holiday’s name is derived from a story about Queen Sheba’s return to Ethiopia after a visit to King Solomon.
“Enkutatash, which can be translated as ‘gift of jewels,’ marks the end of the rainy season and the beginning of a new year according to the Ethiopian calendar,” says Geda. “As such, it is a celebration of renewal and hope. Bright yellow flowers blanket the landscape, symbolizing a new cycle of life and prosperity.”
In the Bible, Queen Sheba visits King Solomon to ask for his wisdom and brings with her “camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones.” In addition to answering all of her questions, Solomon also gave Queen Sheba many valuable gifts to take back to Ethiopia with her.