Saturday, 17 September 2016

Happy New Year 2009!

No, that's not a typo. September 12 was the first day of the year 2009 in Ethiopia. The seven-and-a-half year discrepancy with our calendar is, I'm told, the result of a different calculation for the birth of Christ. The New Year was marked by a midnight fireworks display in Addis Ababa but otherwise it's a fairly low-key, family-oriented celebration here. I joined Shane and Brukty on a trip across the city for dinner at Brukty's mum's house, where her sister performed a traditional coffee ceremony. From washing and roasting the beans (pictured) to drinking the third and final round takes a couple of hours; it was the kids' bedtime so we only got as far as round two. It was great to experience a genuine coffee ceremony this way. 
The calendar is not the only unique thing here. Ethiopia has its own, ancient, 276-letter alphabet, which I'm told is not as impossible to learn as it sounds - the letters are made up of combinations of the 33 consonants and seven vowels. Still, it helps to explain why I've made little headway with Amharic, the national language. 
Ethiopia also has its own system for telling the time. The clock starts from zero at 6am our time, the start of the day; at 6pm the time goes back to zero for the start of night-time. So, when I turned up at this internet cafe this morning and found it was still locked, I was told it would open at 4 o'clock. That meant 6 + 4 = 10am in our system. To make it even more confusing Ethiopians often use the western system of telling time when dealing with foreigners like me, so I always have to triple-check what time they really mean... 


  1. 😂 now that is very confusing and interesting! hope you got to the airport in time 😁

  2. At least I'll have an excuse if I get back to work seven years late :-)

  3. well, I see you got home with a cake. have you solved the mystery yet? 😊

    1. Yep, mystery solved. My travel agent Aimee contacted Emirates and organised it :-)

  4. well, I see you got home with a cake. have you solved the mystery yet? 😊