10-11 Sept 2006. The Ethiopian New Year or Enkutatash, meaning the gift of jewels, falls on 11 September, marking a new season and a new start: by mid-September the seasonal rains which this year have claimed hundreds of lives across the country should have run their course and the harvest begins. New Year, which this year marks the start of 1999 in the Ethiopian calendar, is primarily a family occasion: houses are decorated with yellow Meskal daisies and children give their family and friends paintings or flowers, while girls wearing traditional Ethiopian dress and carrying a small drum go from house to house singing in return for money. In Addis Ababa the main religious celebration is held at the Raguel church in Entoto on the mountain overlooking the city. Traditionally new years eve is a time of preparation for the festivities of the following day. However, increasingly celebrations begin the night before in line with western practice. For those wanting to splash out, in Addis Ababa the Sheraton hotel is organising a Celebration of life on 10 Sept with a line-up of Ethiopian and international stars including Ja Rule, Aster Aweke, Mohammoud Ahmed, Ephrem Tamiru, Hamelmal Abate and the Teddy Mak Band. Entrance is Birr 1,250/US$145 for the main event or Birr 1,600/$185 including admission to the Gaslight nightclub. Tickets are on sale in the hotel lobby.

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Ethiopian New Year.

Events throughout the country.