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Religious Festivals

Timkat, or the Epiphany, is the most important celebration of the ethiopian orthodox Church, and takes place on January 18th and 19th. Easter is observed usually a week later than when the Gregorian calendar dectates.

The most important Muslim festival is Ramadan, which takes place on the ninth month of the lunar year, according to the Islamic calendar. Ramadan marks the end of a month long fast, which services to remind people of how the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. The period of feasting and celebration after the fast is known as Id-al-fitir.The Islamic New Year celebrate Mohmmed's flight from Mecca, and follows the fast of Ramadan. The birthday of the prophet Mohammed is also celebrated as christmas on the twelfth night of the first lunar month. These celebrations bring together friends and families all over the country. In these celebrations you may find people dancing the Eskista which is a folklore dance from Amhara.

Moslem expansion into Ethiopia began in the 12th Century as a number of independent trading kingdoms grew up along the Red Sea coast. The expansion the islamic empire surrounded Ethiopia with Moslem-dominated countries. By 700 AD the Ethiopians were cut off from the rest of the christian world. However, the Islamic armies never conquered the predominantly christian highland people. Approximately 50% of the population are muslims.


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