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The Ethiopian calendar places it 8 years behind the rest of the world

Of course, managing different time zones around the world is a headache. But can you imagine dealing with completely different years?

As mind-boggling as it may sound, this is the case in Ethiopia. While the rest of the world is currently living in 2022, in Ethiopia the year is currently 2014.

And suddenly we all became the character of Robin Williams in “Jumanji”.

It’s actually all very simple.

Where most of us are used to the Gregorian calendar, marked with 12 months of 28 to 31 days, the Ethiopian calendar consists of 13 months… sort of.

You see, every month has exactly 30 days, except for this 13th bonus month (called Pagumen), which has five days. Unless of course it’s a leap year. He then has six.

This makes the Ethiopian calendar seven years and eight months behind the Western calendar, according to the BBC. Good luck buying the right plane ticket.

Not only is the Ethiopian calendar several days behind, but the concept of time is very different. Rather than 24 hours in a day, Ethiopian time uses a 12-hour day, from dawn to dusk and then from dusk to dawn. That means 6 a.m. is noon, 6 p.m. is midnight. Up is down. And the down is periwinkle. Your head is still buzzing?

And now the real question: why?

Apart from a five-year occupation by Mussolini’s Italy, Africa’s oldest country has never been colonized. And therefore, he calculates the birth of Christ differently. The BBC reports that when the Catholic Church changed its reckoning in AD 500, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church did not.

As such, Ethiopians (similar to several other cultures) do not celebrate New Years in December. Their festival, called Enkutatash, occurs on September 11 or September 12 in leap years.


And while we’re on the subject, Enkutatash sounds like a pretty amazing shindig. Of course, there are gifts, children singing, all that. But the real point of attraction? The coffee ceremony. Which can last for hours. Heaven is a place on Earth. And it is found in Ethiopia.

Of course, Ethiopia isn’t the only country that technically has a very different year. I mean, the Thai calendar – based on Buddha, not Jesus – is until 2565! After all, there are as many ways to measure time as there are cultures throughout history.

A recent video posted on TikTok has brought the Ethiopian calendar to the forefront of people’s minds.

While coordinating schedules can be daunting, it’s cool to see that even though we live on the same planet, we can still live in very different worlds.