Ethiopia uses its own calendar called Ethiopic Calendar, very similar to the Julian Calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each, and a 13th month of five days, or six days during the leap year constituting the short 13th month of "Pagume". In Greek, Pagume means "additional". The Ethiopic calendar is almost eight years behind the Gregorian calendar now used in the west.
Ethiopians celebrate New Year on the 1st of "Meskerem" which is the 11th of September (or the 12th of September following a leap year) of the widely used Gregorian calendar.
Since this year 1999 according to Ethiopic calendar is a leap year, the coming Ethiopian Millennium will start on September 12, 2007, which is "Meskerem" 1, 2000.
More on the Ethiopic Calendar
By Dr. Aberra Molla
Ethiopia has its own ancient calendar. According to the beliefs of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, God created the world 5500 years before the birth of Christ. It is 1997 years since Jesus was born. Based on this timeline, we are in the year 7497 of the eighth millennium . These are referred to as Amete Alem in Amharic or "the years of the world". Era of the world dates from 5493 Ethiopian B.C.
Ethiopic is not the only calendar in Ethiopia either. The works of Enoch (hnk) had been in Ethiopia and Egypt before the times of Moses and on through the times of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba. As has been the case for Israel, Egypt and Ethiopia have had important roles in Biblical History. An Enochian year is completed in 364 days, Enoch 82:4-7 and Jubilees 6:23-28. More precisely, a 365-day-solar-year and the 365-year-solar-cycle appear as a 365-days-and-years single term. From the three books of Enoch, a curious 364-day length of calendar year lends new insight by reserving the last day of the solar year. Ethiopians followed the Old Testament before the introduction of Christianity (1 Kings 10:1-9). The Arc of the Covenant was brought to Ethiopia long before Christianity accepted the Old Testament and offered worship to God. The Oromo people have their own calendar. Bete Israel (bT asr]l) believe in the Jewish faith.
The earliest known date is 4236 B.C.E., the founding of the Egyptian calendar. The ancient Egyptian calendar was lunar. The solar Coptic (gbi) calendar, oldest in history, originated three millennia before the birth of Christ. The exact date of its Egyptian origin is unknown. It is believed that Imhotep, the supreme official of King Djoser C.2670 B.C. had a great impact on the construction of the calendar. Historically, ancient Egyptians initially used a civil calendar based on a solar year that consisted of 365 days only, without making any adjustment for the additional quarter of a day each year. Each year had 12 months. The heliacal rising of Sirius coincides with the arrival of the highest point of river Nile flood at Memphis marking the first day of the year. The new year of the ancient Egyptians started on Meskerem 1 (MsKRm 1). This date is an Ethiopian new year signaling the end of Noah's flood. (The Hebrew new years also start in Meskerem. The Egyptian solar calendar consisted of 12 30-day months with five extra festival days at the end of the year. It should be noted that the chronology of 3,000 years of Ancient Egyptian history, by modern Egyptologists, was made possible only because the Ancient Egyptians followed the Sothic Year of slightly over 365? days, i.e. 365.25636 days.)
The connection between Egypt and Ethiopia from at least as early as the Twenty-second Dynasty was very intimate and occasionally the two countries were under the same ruler, so that the arts and civilization of the one naturally found their way into the other.
The Ethiopian Calendar has more in common with the Coptic Egyptian Calendar. The Ethiopic and Coptic calendars have 13 months, 12 of 30 days each and an intercalary month at the end of the year of 5 or 6 days depending whether the year is a leap year or not. The year starts on 11 September in the Gregorian Calendar (G.C.) or on the 12th in (Gregorian) Leap Years. The Coptic Leap Year follows the same rules as the Gregorian so that the extra month always has 6 days in a Gregorian Leap Year.