Happy New Year!
Since 2001, September 11 always stirs up feelings of remembrance, honor, and patriotism inside of me. This year, though, it also stired up feelings of celebration, hope, dreams, and longing. September 11 marks Ethiopia's New Year (Enkutatash).
Ethiopia still follows the Orthodox Julian calendar which consists of 12 months of 30 days and a 13th month, Pagume, of five or six days (depending on whether or not it is a leap year.) The Ethiopian calendar is seven years and eight months behind our calendar, so September 11, 2013 is Meskerem 1, 2006 in Ethiopia.
History of the Ethiopian New Year:
When Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, returned to Ethiopia after her famous visit to King Solomon (1 Kings 10), her chiefs welcomed her forward by giving her "enku" or jewels. Enkutatash which means "gift of jewels"' has been celebrated ever since during spring in Ethiopia. Enkutatash is an important festival in the lives of Ethiopians. After three months of heavy rains the sun comes out creating a beautiful, clear, fresh atmosphere. The fields turn to gold as yellow daisies burst into bloom. Meskerem is seen as a month of transition from the old year to the new. It is a time to express hopes and dreams for the future.
Marcus and I decided to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year last night. Our hearts are currently in Ethiopia, so we both feel a little bit Ethiopian. Because Enkutatash is important to Ethiopian culture, we want it to be important to our family too. As Marcus and I expressed our hopes and dreams for the future, we smiled, laughed, cried, and prayed over bringing our son home. We are looking forward to celebrating this day with him someday.
In honor of Enkutatash, my sweet husband brightened my day with yellow daisies. (All he could find were Gerber Daisies, but those are my favorite anyway!) Traditionally yellow daisies (or drawings of them) are given by children to friends, family, and neighbors in exchange for money or bread. I didn't give Marcus money...but we did try our hand at making some Ethiopian bread. I was planning on making Defo Dabo, which is traditionally eaten and shared during the New Year. As I was looking up recipes though, Yemarina Yewotet Dabo (Ethiopian Spiced Honey Bread) sounded so delicious that I had to try it instead! It is also a traditional bread enjoyed in Ethiopia that makes use of the country's abundant supply of honey. We enjoyed it last night with some hot tea, which was actually from Peru...maybe next year we will get some Ethiopian coffee! It was lovely. I definitely reccomend this recipe!
As we look to the "new year," we continue to pray for our son and this process. Our paperwork will arrive in Ethiopia during this new year, and we hope and pray that we are matched and processed quickly. Until then, our hearts will remain in Ethiopia. Happy New Year!