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You are always seven years behind in Ethiopia: Here’s why

By Deepika Lal

Ethiopians follow their ancient calendar called ‘Bahere Hasab’
course details
Ethiopia has a 13-month calendar.

While most of the world is living in the year 2022, Ethiopians rang in 2015 in September. Sounds delusional to you? Well, not to Ethiopians!

But how is that even possible? Did some kind of time capsule take the Ethiopians back to 2015? The answer is no. It is just that they are following a different calendar system, putting them in a different time zone than the rest of the world. So, when the entire world bases its calculation of dates and days on the Gregorian calendar system, Ethiopians go by ‘Bahere Hasab’, the Ethiopian calendar.

Why is Ethiopia seven years behind us? 
As already mentioned, the calendar system that we and most of the countries around the world follow today is called the Gregorian calendar. However, Ethiopians follow their own ancient calendar.

But you would ask what is the difference? Well, the difference is in the date of Jesus Christ’s birth used by both calendar systems. While Bahere Hasab and Gregorian calendars both use the birthdate of Jesus Christ as a starting point for their calculations, the Gregorian calendar held that Christ was born in AD 1 and started its calculation of dates from that year on.

In contrast, the Ethiopian calendar goes by the belief that Jesus Christ was born in 7 BC, that is, 5,500 years after God’s promise to Adam and Eve and started counting days from that year on.

But why so? Ethiopia’s calendar takes its inspiration from the idea that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for seven years before they were expelled for their sins.  After they repented, God promised to save them after 5,500 years.  And, that explains why Ethiopians are seven years behind us.

Bahere Hasab: a 13-month calendar
But let us tell you this is not the only difference between the two calendars. There are many others too! One, the Ethiopian calendar has 13 months in a year, 12 of which have 30 days. The last month, called Pagume, has five days (six days in a leap year).

Secondly, Ethiopians celebrate the beginning of a new year on September 11 (September 12, if it is a leap year).

They also count time differently. The day is divided into two 12-hour slots starting from 6 am.

Lastly, from the naming of the weekdays to that of the 12 months of the year, the Ethiopian calendar is greatly intertwined with biblical anecdotes.

Other countries with their own timelines
There are other countries with different calendars too. Nepal follows the Vikram Samvat alongside the Nepal Sambat calendar while Iran and Afghanistan follow the Solar Hijri calendar.

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