Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy New Year, Ethiopia!

In Ethiopia, this September 12th marks the first day of 2004. As you might have guessed, Ethiopians do not follow the Gregorian Calender. Ethiopians do, however, follow the 13 month Ethiopian calendar system, which contains twelve 30-day months and a 13th month lasting 5 or 6 days, depending if it's a leap year or not. The Ethiopian Calendar is consistently 7-8 years behind the Gregorian calender because it references an alternative calculation to the annunciation/incarnation of Christ*.

Ethiopians also report the time of day differently than most westerners. Although there are 24 hours in the Ethiopian day, Ethiopians set their clocks to encompass the 12 hours of day and the 12 hours of night, rather than to mark high noon and midnight, as most Americans like myself are accustomed to. Being close to the equator -days being the same length to one another and all, keeping track of time the Ethiopian way seems to make sense. So... assuming you are telling time like most Americans and we put the above to practice: 5 o'clock in the morning Ethiopian is 11AM .. and .. 8 o'clock in the day Ethiopian is 2 PM.

If you're wondering: “Can making appointments be confusing and time made to seem frustratingly ambiguous for an American in Ethiopia?” The answer is “Yes” -and we're not even talking about the cultural differences on handling time in those cases where a specific time is mutually understood.

*reference 'calendar' in an encyclopedia for mo info on the subj

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